March 20, 2019
According to The Guardian, scientists have used human brain cells and spinal cord and muscle tissue from a mouse to make a miniature brain “organoid,” which you see pictured.
“The scientists used a new method to grow the miniature brain from human stem cells, which allowed the organoid to reach a more sophisticated stage of development than previous experiments. The latest blob shows similarities, in terms of the variety of neurons and their organisation, to the human foetal brain at 12-16 weeks of pregnancy. . . .
Alongside the organoid, the scientists added in a 1mm-long spinal cord, taken from a mouse embryo, and the surrounding back muscle. The brain cells automatically began to send out neuronal connections, linked up with the spinal cord and began sending electrical impulses, which caused the muscles to twitch.”
They are hoping to use this brain to study how brains function and what goes wrong in diseases like schizophrenia and epilepsy.
Where will this lead? Is this a good idea? Are scientists playing God? What do you think?