Humans have the urge to develop beyond the borders of the earth, and this experiment sowed the seeds of it. The foremost experiment on growing mouse embryos in space is led by Teruhiko Wakayama, a molecular biologist at the University of Yamanashi's Advanced Biotechnology Center, and a team from Japan Aerospace Space (JAXA). This experiment's main objective is to establish whether mammals can develop in a microgravity environment in space.
In August 2021, frozen embryos from over 700 pregnant mice were extracted and transported to the International Space Station (ISS) via a SpaceX rocket. Scientists from the University of Yamanashi and the Riken Research Institute in Japan designed a specialized instrument at the space station for thawing the frozen embryos. After that, the embryos are cultured by the astronauts for four days. Then they returned the samples to the Earth for further studies by Wakayama and his team.
According to a paper published in the journal "iScience," the team Wakayama noted that the embryos that are cultured in microgravity and high radiation developed into blastocysts (a group of dividing cells made by a fertilized egg) normally with normal cell membranes. The researchers clearly illustrated that microgravity had no impact on the blastocyst formation or initial differentiation of mammalian embryos. The team also said that, if approved, the blastocysts would grow into mouse fetuses and placentas while showing no notable DNA alteration. However, the survival rate of the embryos grown on the International Space Station was lower compared to those cultivated on Earth.
A team led by Wakayama in 2009 led an experiment that simulated how microgravity harmed embryonic development. The ova could be fertilized in microgravity, but implantation of the fertilized ova is less successful. So this latest experiment was not focused on fertilization or implantation but on the early development of the embryo.
However, there is a need for further research to take place to make it clear whether life may survive in space.
(Input from various media sources)