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Sunday, April 14, 2019

Scientists Grew a Mini-Brain in a Dish, And It Connected to a Spinal Cord by Itself

Carly Cassella
Originally posted March 20, 2019

Lab-growing the most complex structure in the known Universe may sound like an impossible task, but that hasn't stopped scientists from trying.

After years of work, researchers in the UK have now cultivated one of the most sophisticated miniature brains-in-a-dish yet, and it actually managed to behave in a slightly freaky fashion.

The grey blob was composed of about two million organised neurons, which is similar to the human foetal brain at 12 to 13 weeks. At this stage, this so-called 'brain organoid' is not complex enough to have any thoughts, feelings, or consciousness - but that doesn't make it entirely inert.

When placed next to a piece of mouse spinal cord and a piece of mouse muscle tissue, this disembodied, pea-sized blob of human brain cells sent out long, probing tendrils to check out its new neighbours.

Using long-term live microscopy, researchers were able to watch as the mini-brain spontaneously connected itself to the nearby spinal cord and muscle tissue.

The info is here.