Brain in a jar – Major progress

It’s a Petri dish, not a jar but the results from a lab in Vienna are intriguing. Stem cells have been directed to grow so as to form structures reminiscent of brain-like tissue. There is an excellent summary of the work and its implications in Science magazine although the paper by Madeline Lancaster and coworkers appeared in Nature.

Summary Article
Science 30 August 2013:
Vol. 341 no. 6149 pp. 946-947

DOI: 10.1126/science.341.6149.946

News & Analysis

Neurodevelopment
Lab Dishes Up Mini-Brains

Gretchen Vogel

/excerpt
No bigger than apple seeds, the cell clusters are simply referred to as “cerebral organoids.” But that careful language in a paper in this week’s issue of Nature belies the excitement of many neuroscientists at what it reports: the growth from human embryonic stem cells of semiorganized knots of neural tissue that contain the rudiments of key parts of the human brain, including the hippo campus and prefrontal cortex. …
/excerpt

Original paper
Cerebral organoids model human brain development and microcephaly
Madeline A. Lancaster, Magdalena Renner, Carol-Anne Martin, Daniel Wenzel,
Louise S. Bicknell, Matthew E. Hurles, Tessa Homfray, Josef M. Penninger,
Andrew P. Jackson, & Juergen A. Knoblich

Nature (2013) doi:10.1038/nature12517

Published online
28 August 2013

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