This is further development of President Obama’s multibillion-dollar brain-map initiative started in 2013. Just as human DNA was ‘mapped’, the BRAIN project was to probe the human brain in action and figure out exactly how it works. Driving forces behind this included Transhumanists who seek immortality through science. ⁃ TN Editor
Writing in the current online issue of the journal Stem Cells and Development, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine describe development of a rapid, cost-effective method to create human cortical organoids directly from primary cells. Experimental studies of developing human brain function are limited. Research involving live embryonic subjects is constrained by ethical concerns and the fragile nature of the brain itself. Animal models only partially mimic or recapitulate human biology and cognitive function. Single cell studies do not capture the complexity of neural networks. In recent years, the development of in vitro human organoids — three-dimensional, miniaturized, simplified versions of an organ produced from reprogrammed stem cells — have allowed scientists to study biological functions, diseases and treatments more realistically and in greater detail.
“And that includes the brain,” said Alysson R. Muotri, PhD, professor in the UC San Diego School of Medicine departments of Pediatrics and Cellular and Molecular Medicine, director of the UC San Diego Stem Cell Program and a member of the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine. “Cerebral organoids can form a variety of brain regions. They exhibit neurons that are functional and capable of electrical excitation. They resemble human cortical development at the gene expression levels.”