30 Oct '14, 11pm
Austrian scientists grow mini human brains in a lab. Thoughts? Uhm, thoughts?
The tiny brains include parts of the cortex, hippocampus, and retinas, allowing researchers to study the early stages of human brain development in a lab setting. The stem cells used to create the models come from adult donors, reprogrammed to behave like embryonic stem cells . (This isn’t the first time human stem cells have been used to replace lab mice, by the way — the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is using similar techniques .) In less than a month, the stem cells grew into 3-4 millimeter “organoids” that included structures for many important parts of the brain, but lacked areas of the brain that control higher functions like language and reasoning.