Scientists 'may have crossed ethical line' in growing human brains | Science - GO Tech Daily
Neuroscientists may have crossed an "ethical rubicon,quot; by growing chunks of human brains in the laboratory and, in some cases, transplanting tissue into animals, researchers warn.
The creation of mini brain or brain organoids has become one of the most popular areas in modern neuroscience. The lumps of tissue are made from stem cells and although they are just the size of a pea, some have developed spontaneous brain waves similar to those in premature babies.
Many scientists believe that organoids have the potential to transform drugs by having them examine the living brain like never before. But the work is controversial because it is unclear where it can cross the border in human experiments.
On Monday, researchers & # 39; the world's largest annual meeting of neuroscientists will tell you that some scientists working on organoids & # 39; dangerously close to the ethical limit, while others may have already done so by making sensitive brain lumps in the laboratory.
"If there is even a possibility that the organoid is conscious, we can go beyond that limit," said Elan Ohayon, director of the Green Neuroscience Laboratory in San Diego, California. "We do not want people to do research where possible something is suffering."
Due to the apparent difficulties in studying living human brains, organoids are considered a milestone development. They have been used to investigate schizophrenia and autism and why some babies' small brains develop when they are infected with the Zika virus in the womb. Researchers hope to use organoids to study a large number of brain disorders, from Alzheimer's to Parkinson's and eye disorders such as age-related macular degeneration.
But in their presentation at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Chicago, Ohayon and his colleagues Ann Lam and Paul Tsang will argue that there must be controls to ensure that brain organoids do not experience suffering. "We are already seeing activity in organoids reminiscent of biological activity in developing animals," Ohayon said.
A recent study by Harvard researchers has shown that brain organoids develop a rich diversity of tissues, from brain cortex neurons to retinal cells. Organoids that were cultivated for eight months developed their own neuronal networks that sparked with activity and responded when light shone on it. In another research led by Fred Gage at the Salk Institute in San Diego, researchers transplanted human brain organoids into mouse brains and found that they connected to the animal's blood supply and made new connections.
Ohayon wants funding agencies to freeze all research aimed at putting human brain organoids into animals, along with other work where there is a reasonable chance of organoids becoming aware. Ohayon has developed computer models that he believes help identify when it is likely that sentiment will arise, but adds that there is an & # 39; urgent need & # 39; is in need of more work in the area.
In Britain, researchers are already forbidden to work on donated embryos older than 14 days. The limit, which some scientists want to extend, was imposed to protect developing people from suffering.
Last year a group of scientists, lawyers, ethicists and philosophers called for an ethical debate about organoids in the brain. The authors, including Hank Greely, director of the Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford University in California, said that organoids were not yet sophisticated enough to express immediate concerns, but it was time to discuss guidelines.
Greely said there was no ethical line when it came to organoids. "I'm convinced they don't think we've reached a Gregor Samsa state, where a person wakes up and finds out he's an organoid," he said, referring to the character in Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis that wake up to discover that he is a giant insect. But he added, "If they mean the potential to perceive or respond to things, it seems likely to me."
Greely believes that worries become more serious when organoids perceive and respond to stimuli that can cause pain. "That becomes even more important if we have reason to believe that the organoid has an aversion to those stimuli, that it feels,quot; pain. "I very much doubt that someone has reached that point or has come close to it, & # 39, he added.
Gage told the Guardian: "I think it's never too early to raise issues of ethics in science, so that a well-considered dialogue can lead scientific research and decisions."
More News in Science
The "Die Cut Tapes Market" research report provides all the point related to global Die Cut Tapes market commencing from the fundamental market data and moving up towards to various essential factors,
Scientists have begun using satellites that can produce high-resolution imagery in an effort to monitor whale strandings from space, according to an investigation by the British Antarctic Survey and four Chilean research institutes. They believe a
Washington D.C. [USA], Oct 20 (ANI): There's no denying the fact that Earth is the only habitable planet and one of its kind, but according to new evidence there may be numerous Earth-like planets in
If you have a few Google Home speakers littered around the house, Google is making it easier to move your music between rooms. It's all thanks to a new feature known as Stream Transfer, which lets
Key Highlights Like Flipkart, e-commerce giant Amazon is also back with its yet another Diwali sale. The Amazon Great Indian Festival Diwali Special Sale will begin online on October 21 via Amazon.in.
Scientists have developed an " artificial skin" that they say can wrap around devices such as smartphones and make them ticklish. The prototype, which has been designed to look like and mimic human skin, responds to