Miniature ‘human brain’ grown in lab

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Miniature "human brains" have been grown in a lab in a feat scientists hope will transform the understanding of neurological disorders.


The pea-sized structures reached the same level of development as in a nine-week-old foetus, but are incapable of thought.

The study, published in the journal Nature, has already been used to gain insight into rare diseases.

Neuroscientists have described the findings as astounding and fascinating.

The human brain is one of the most complicated structures in the universe.

Scientists at Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences have now reproduced some of the earliest stages of the organ's development in the laboratory.

Written By: James Gallagher
continue to source article at bbc.co.uk

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    • In reply to #1 by Reckless Monkey:

      Ah but does it have a soul? ;)

      hmm well there’s no heartbeat so wouldn’t qualify for “personhood” but may be able to get an executive postion on the Texas education board

    • In reply to #2 by DHudson:

      “The human brain is one of the most complicated structures in the universe.”

      Well, the universe is pretty damn big…

      Yes; I would have said “The human brain is one of the most complicated structures in the known universe.”

      Steve

  1. Brains are the atheist equivalent of souls. This particular brain is only fetus-brain sized so it doesn’t trigger any worries of morality in me to create it and terminate it in a lab experiment, but we should be wary of doing this sort of thing on a larger brain that starts to approach born-baby-sized brains. If they got this far it’s not much of a stretch to contemplate that the ability to grow a full size human brain in the lab may appear down the road in the future.

    If you start from the materialist viewpoint that there is no such thing as a soul then the physical brain is all that’s left as the be-all, end-all of what it is to be a human with full human rights. If the experiment could be taken further to make a full sized, fully developed human brain, we’d have no choice but to insist that brain gets to have the same protections and rights as a born baby.

    And that would severely curtail what sort of experimental usefulness the brain would have. You shouldn’t be allowed to just do whatever to like to the brain to see what would happen.

  2. Are are not 9-week old fetuses identical in creationist law to adult human beings?

    Thus the pea brains deserve funerals, with caskets, incense, choir boys, costumes and those that killed them must be electrocuted.

    And while I am at it, what about all that detritus left over from trying to increase fertility? Is it not holy too?

    • In reply to #6 by Roedy:

      Are are not 9-week old fetuses identical in creationist law to adult human beings?

      Thus the pea brains deserve funerals, with caskets, incense, choir boys, costumes and those that killed them must be electrocuted.

      Because it did not come about naturally, it does not have a soul.

  3. The human brain is one of the most complicated structures in the universe.

    I keep seeing this unsupportable claim!

    The human brain is thought to be one of the most complicated structures in the universe.

  4. In reply to #5 by Agrajag:

    Yes; I would have said “The human brain is one of the most complicated structures in the known universe.”

    Steve

    Aye, and if we add Alan’s thought to, we should be covered…

    • In reply to #11 by old-toy-boy:

      How do we know this thing is incapable of thought? Is it capable of feeling pain? I am concerned about the ethics of this research.

      Why?

      We are talking about a squishy little pea-sized brain.

      • In reply to #12 by DHudson:

        Why?

        We are talking about a squishy little pea-sized brain.

        And with no sensory or other input, there’s not much for it to “think” about. Without any efferent elements, how would we know? I guess there’s EEG. ;-)

        Steve

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