by AFP, MSN
Scientists have picked up electrical activity in pea-sized, lab-grown brains for the first time, paving the way to model neurological conditions and answer fundamental questions on how our gray matter develops.
It’s not clear whether the mini-brains are conscious — the team behind the breakthrough suspect they’re not but can’t say for sure — opening up a new ethical dimension to this area of research moving forward.
So-called “brain organoids” derived from adult stem cells have been around for a decade or so but have never previously developed functional neural networks.
“If you had asked me five years ago would you think that a brain organoid would ever have a sophisticated network able to generate a brain oscillation, I would say no,” Alysson Muotri, a biologist at the University of California San Diego, told AFP.