Artificial 'brain in a dish' is created that matures 'just like a human brain'

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A 'brain in a dish' grown from stem cells in the lab can develop 'just like a human brain' β€” and may help shed light on conditions like Alzheimer's and schizophrenia.

Researchers from the US conducted extensive genetic analyses of the so-called 'organoids' which were allowed to grow in experimental dishes for up to 20 months.

They found that the artificial brains appear to grow in phases accordance with an internal clock β€” one that matches the development of real infant brains.


The findings suggest that organoids are able to develop beyond a 'foetal' stage, contrary to what had previously been assumed.
Given this, brains organoids might well be able to be matured to such an extent that they can be used by scientists to investigate adult-onset diseases like dementia.


'Until now, nobody has grown and characterized these organoids for this amount of time,' said paper author and neurologist Daniel Geschwind of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

'Nor shown they will recapitulate human brain development in a laboratory environment for the most part.'

'This will be an important boost for the field. We've shown that these organoids can mature and replicate many aspects of normal human development -- making them a good model for studying human disease in a dish,' he said.

In their study, the team created their brain organoids using so-called induced pluripotent stem cells, which are capable of giving rise to many different cell types.

The stem cells themselves were derived from skin and blood cells that were reprogrammed back into an embryonic state.

When subjected to the right mix of chemicals in the right setting, the stem cells grow into brain cells and self-organise to produce three-dimensional structures that faithfully replicate certain aspects of the development of real human brains.


Researchers are interested in growing organoids from stem cells because they have the potential to revolutionise the ways in which we investigate how complex organs β€” such as the brain β€” both develop and respond to disease.

In fact, scientists are already using human brain organoids to study neurological and neurodevelopmental disorders including autism, epilepsy and schizophrenia.

Until now, however, it was assumed that the cells the form the organoids are unable to develop beyond a state equivalent to those seen during foetal development β€” limiting the extent to which these models could be used.

The findings of this new study suggest that it could in fact be possible to grow the organoids' cells to such a maturity that researchers could also study diseases which onset during adulthood, such as dementia and schizophrenia.

'There is huge interest in stem cell models of human disease,' said Dr Geschwind.


'This work represents an important milestone by showing which aspects of human brain development are modelled with the highest fidelity and which specific genes are behaving well in vitro and when best to model them.'

'Equally important, we provide a framework based on unbiased genomic analyses for assessing how well in vitro models model in vivo development and function.'

'We show that these 3D brain organoids follow an internal clock, which progresses in a laboratory environment in parallel to what occurs inside a living organism,' said paper author and biologist Aaron Gordon, also of UCLA.

'This is a remarkable finding β€” we show that they reach post-natal maturity around 280 days in culture, and after that begin to model aspects of the infant brain, including known physiological changes in neurotransmitter signalling.'
 

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Sounds very Frankensteinian.
 

Drumont

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Wow, wow, wow.

And when this "organoid" will have conscience, and reason, and will be able to process ideas and emotions, will it be declared human ?

This is cyberpunk, Ghost in the Shell tier shit.

Scientists playing God. Not good.
 

drallod

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These freakin weirdos grow human brains in dishes. Ethical considerations are not even mentioned anymore.

Does anyone really think they wouldn't genetically modify a population without its knowledge? I laugh at you if you do. And I would laugh at you in real life too in front of a lot of people who agreed with you, not just on the Internet.
 

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