Health News: Growing Cerebral Organoids

A team of Austrian and Scottish researchers have accomplished an incredible feat: They’ve grown brains in a Petri dish. Starting with adult skin cells, they reprogrammed them to behave like embryonic stem cells and placed them in a bath of nutrients believed to aid brain development. In less than a month they grew to four millimeters across and started to naturally organize into regions of the brain, including early versions of the cortex, hippocampus, and retinas. Researchers expect that the ability to grow brains in this way will be invaluable for studying conditions like microcephaly, autism, and schizophrenia.