These mini-brains may be small—about the size of a common housefly—but they still exhibit characteristics typical of the real thing. Made from adult human stem cells, these brains aren’t capable of conscious thought or cognition, nor are they capable of experiencing pain or suffering. They can also be mass produced, and they’re standardized, so they’re ideal for lab experiments requiring biologically active brains.
Also known as organoids, the balls of human brain cells are more ethical, and possibly even better, than lab animals, including rats and mice. This work is being presented today at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Washington, D.C.