Miniature human brain grown in lab

Prepare to have your mind blown. Researchers at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences have grown a human brain. The findings of this breakthrough were published in the journal Nature.

Using embryonic stem cells or adult skin cells, the scientists were able to develop part of an embryo to organically grow a brain and its different regions, such as the cerebral cortex, retina, and occasionally the hippocampus. Since there was no blood flow or oxygen to the embryo, however, the brains developed only to the level of the brain of a nine-week old fetus. They were not capable of thought.  Remarkably, though, these pea-sized brains have survived for nearly a year inside a laboratory.

Scientists hope to use this technique to better understand different neurological disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia. Other future possibilities include replacing drug testing on mice with real brain tissue from these miniature brains.

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Sourced from: bbc.co.uk, BBC News