Tiny Lab-Grown ‘Brains’ Raise Big Ethical Questions

(By Jon Hamilton for NPR)

Bits of human brain tissue no larger than a pea are forcing scientists to think about questions as large as the nature of consciousness.

These clusters of living brain cells are popularly known as minibrains, though scientists prefer to call them cerebral organoids. At the moment, they remain extremely rudimentary versions of an actual human brain and are used primarily to study brain development and disorders like autism.

But minibrain research is progressing so quickly that scientists need to start thinking about the potential implications now, says Nita Farahany, a professor of law and philosophy at Duke University and the director of Duke Science and Society. Continue reading article here…

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