Article: Embryoids: Explanations and Ethical Issues

I serve as news curator for bioethics.com and occasionally write a commentary on a news item. Usually these commentaries involve translating recent research into layman’s terms and outlining the bioethical issues.

My newest commentary is on embryoids. Embryoids are clusters of cells that are made either from embryonic stem cells or from induced pluripotent stem cells. They self-organize and demonstrate many of the features of a developing embryo, but lack certain cell types to allow them to grow beyond the initial phases of embryonic development.

Embryoids are an ethical conundrum. Are they embryos or are they not? If they are not, do they still qualify as organisms?

My article does not come to any hard conclusions but outlines the ethical discussion. For more about embryoids, you can read my bioethics.com commentary here.