The research institute combined two types of stem cells to create a viable embryo, which could then be replicated multiple times.
Amazingly, it means the researchers didn’t use either an egg or sperm to create the very beginning of human life.
The embryos the lab has made will be used for medical testing, specifically to figure out why embryos fail to implant in women’s wombs.
The experiment was carried out by scientists from the MERLN Institute at Maastricht Univeristy and the Hubrecht Institute (KNAW) in the Netherlands.
Lead researcher, Professor Nicolas Rivron of Maastricht University, said: “As you know, embryos are very precious, and it is impossible to use to test drugs on them as you don’t have the numbers.
“With blastocysts you can open up the numbers. This will allow screening medicines in the future.
“I do not believe in using blastocysts for human reproduction. This is ethically very questionable, this would be clones of somebody who is already alive. Human cloning is totally forbidden.”
“We can create large numbers of model embryos and build up new knowledge by systematically testing new medical techniques and potential medicines.
It also dramatically reduces the need for animal experimentation.”
But fears have been raised the research is paving the way for human cloning.
Professor Robin Lovell-Badge, of the Francis Crick Institute, called it a “relief” the team is not yet at the human cloning stage.
He said: “It may come as a relief to others that such a method of producing many genetically identical human embryo-like structures that might be capable of implantation is not feasible – even if it would be illegal to implant them into women, as is clearly the situation in the UK.”