The News Today
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11.20.19
Questionable Research

Scientists Worried That Human Brains Grown in Lab May Be Sentient

October 21st 19__Dan Robitzski__Filed Under: Hard Science
_DJ_ via Flickr/Victor Tangermann

It’s Alive!

Some neuroscientists working with lab-grown human “mini brains” worry they could be experiencing an endless horror, with a conscious existence with no body.

At least, that’s the warning that a group of Green Neuroscience Lab researchers plan to deliver during a national meeting for the Society for Neuroscience on Monday, according to The Guardian. While it’s never been demonstrated that a mini brain has become conscious or sentient, the researchers believe that the risk is too great to continue using them.

Toeing The Line

Mini brains give scientists the opportunity to study neurological development and conditions in something more human-like than an animal model. While they don’t approach the complexity of a human brain, scientists have been able to make increasingly-complex mini brains for their work.

“We’re already seeing activity in organoids that is reminiscent of biological activity in developing animals,” Elan Ohayon, the director of the Green Neuroscience Laboratory, told The Guardian.

Hold Off

It’s that progress that has the neuroscientists concerned.

“If there’s even a possibility of the organoid being sentient, we could be crossing that line,” said Ohayon. “We don’t want people doing research where there is potential for something to suffer.”

READ MORE: Scientists ‘may have crossed ethical line’ in growing human brains [The Guardian]

More on mini brains: New Lab-Grown Mini Brains Are The Most Advanced Yet