The PJ Tatler

A Scientist Has Grown a Human Brain in a Vat

Ok, not a vat, but a petri dish. A biological chemistry and pharmacology professor claims to have grown a human brain in a petri dish.

Professor Rene Descartes Anand said he has grown a nearly complete human brain that is equivalent to a 5-week-old-fetus brain:

Anand’s lab-grown brain is the size of a pencil eraser and contains 99 percent of the genes found in a complete human brain.

“It not only looks like the developing brain, its diverse cell types express nearly all genes like a brain,” Anand said.

With all those genes, it should come as no surprise that the tiny brain has a spinal cord, signaling circuitry and even a retina.

The only important thing that’s missing is consciousness.

Holy medical ethics, Batman.

“We don’t have any sensory stimuli entering the brain. This brain is not thinking in any way,” Anand assured The Guardian:

Anand pulled off his amazing feat by mimicking the conditions that naturally occur in utero in his lab and 15 weeks later he had grown the equivalent of a 5-week-old fetal human brain.

He couldn’t grow a bigger brain because after five weeks the brain needs a vascular system, something Anand can’t produce yet.

“We’d need an artificial heart to help the brain grow further in development,” said Anand.

This development opens up the door to advances in personalized medicine.

“If you have an inherited disease, for example, you could give us a sample of skin cells, we could make a brain and then ask what’s going on,” Anand told The Guardian.

And then you can donate your brain clone to someone in Congress who may be in need.