Lab-grown mini brains ‘perilously close’ to consciousness?

unnamed file
Image: AFP/Muotri Lab/UCTV

Neuroscientists at more than a hundred laboratories around the world are now cultivating small brains from human cells in glass dishes. There, they bob around in a pinkish liquid.

The lumpy blobs are more than a collection of random brain cells.

They form structures in a fashion similar to what happens during fetal development. The structures have different brain parts and organize themselves in networks. Cells fire – send off electrical signals – and thus communicate inside the pea-sized blobs.


Some scientists are worried things might go wrong. At a major brain research conference in October, one of the topics on brain organoids was whether they could feel pain or “become conscious.”

Related article:  How blinking alters the way our brains perceive the passage of time

Could a situation arise where brains lie there and suffer in a bodyless, nightmarish state?

Elan Ohayon has developed computer models that he believes can tell us when mini-brain consciousness might arise. According to his models, research on organoids may already be “perilously close to crossing this ethical Rubicon,” the lecture introduction states.


However, most people believe that today’s research on organoids is still well within what is ethically sound. The mini-brains differ greatly from real brains.

Read full, original post: Neuroscientists cultivate mini-versions of human brains in the lab. Could they become conscious?

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
GLP Podcasts
Infographic: Here’s where GM crops are grown around the world today

Infographic: Here’s where GM crops are grown around the world today

Do you know where biotech crops are grown in the world? This updated ISAAA infographics show where biotech crops were ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

* indicates required
Email Lists
Send this to a friend