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Science

Scientists To Grow 'Mini-Brains' Using Neanderthal DNA (theguardian.com) 71

Scientists will grow small amounts of tissue, known as brain organoids, from human stem cells that have been edited to contain "Neanderthalized" versions of several genes. "The lentil-sized organoids, which are incapable of thoughts or feelings, replicate some of the basic structures of an adult brain," reports The Guardian. "They could demonstrate for the first time if there were meaningful differences between human and Neanderthal brain biology." From the report: The latest work focuses on differences in three genes known to be crucial for brain development. Using the editing technique Crispr, changes have been introduced into human stem cells to make them closer to Neanderthal versions. The stem cells are coaxed using chemical triggers to become neurons, which spontaneously clump together and self-organize into miniature brain-like structures that grow to a few millimeters in diameter. The lack of any sensory input means the internal wiring is haphazard and varies from one blob to the next. The scientists will compare the Neanderthalized organoids and the fully human ones to assess the speed at which the stem cells divide, develop and organize into three-dimensional brain structures and whether the brain cells wire up differently. The work won't reveal which species is "smarter," but could hint at differences in the ability to plan, socialize and use language.

Scientists To Grow 'Mini-Brains' Using Neanderthal DNA

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Usually accompanied by an ass bigger than their brain that even a goat could see.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    How about spending money solving issues like corruption, disease and poverty?

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Saturday May 12, 2018 @02:43PM (#56601230)

      How about spending money solving issues like corruption, disease and poverty?

      The root cause of many social problems is too many stupid people.

      The average inmate IQ is America's prisons is 89. It is even lower for violent offenders.

      Smoking, obesity, and many other health issues are correlated with low intelligence.

      Income differs by about $6000/yr for every 10 points above or below the mean IQ.

      Better understanding of brain development is one of the most important things we can do to address these problems.

      • "Better understanding of brain development is one of the most important things we can do to address these problems."

        I think that's an example of what he's talking about, a tendency to look for certain kinds of solutions at the detriment of other kinds when trying to help reduce things like poverty or corruption.

        "The root cause of many social problems is too many stupid people"

        Stupidity isn't more present at one IQ level than another, though it does play out differently at higher and lower IQs; and knowing

        • how would one even start to justify that stupidity in the higher IQs is less of a causal factor behind poverty and corruption than stupidity in the lower IQs is.

          Because of overwhelming evidence. Low IQ is strongly correlated with both poverty and criminality. It may not be correlated with "corruption", but if we have fewer low IQ murderers and muggers, the police can focus more on high IQ embezzlers and bribers.

          • how would one even start to justify that stupidity in the higher IQs is less of a causal factor behind poverty and corruption than stupidity in the lower IQs is.

            Because of overwhelming evidence. Low IQ is strongly correlated with both poverty and criminality. It may not be correlated with "corruption", but if we have fewer low IQ murderers and muggers, the police can focus more on high IQ embezzlers and bribers.

            "Because of overwhelming evidence. Low IQ is strongly correlated with both poverty"

            Yes, but I said how would you support the idea that there's a causal link not a correlation.

            Supposing poverty is caused by marginalization and taking economic advantage of individuals with lower IQs for the benefit of individuals with higher IQs then poverty would be caused by individuals with higher IQs while still being correlated with individuals with lower IQs.

      • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

        The root cause of many social problems is too many stupid people.

        The root cause of "too many stupid people" is more interesting. Hold on a minute, I only have a 5 second attention span, it's time to watch Ow my balls.

    • Now where the fuck is money in that?

  • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Saturday May 12, 2018 @10:43AM (#56600566)
    This seems dangerous and offensive. There are no differences between any two brains. Everyone is the same and always was. Just because the Neanderthals get a bad narrative from the Patriarchy doesn't mean that everyone from Mediterranean Europe is inferior to those white privilege cro-mag ice people from the north. Even studying this should be illegal, because it may cause sensitive students to question the fact that every person is identical in every way.
  • Just great (Score:4, Insightful)

    by reboot246 ( 623534 ) on Saturday May 12, 2018 @10:51AM (#56600582) Homepage
    More Facebook users. Just what the world needs!
  • The term "mini-brain" is rather deceptive because they measured in micrometers. The largest it will get is about 5mm.

  • ...building the perfect Congressman again, are we? Like that has worked out so well thus far...

    mnem
    But then, I repeat myself...

  • by Chris Mattern ( 191822 ) on Saturday May 12, 2018 @11:53AM (#56600734)

    Who's that?

  • They had bigger brains than us.
  • by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Saturday May 12, 2018 @01:52PM (#56601078) Journal
    If you want to grow and study some human brain tissue just do that. The minute one of your experiments communicates it isn't cool with it, THEN you have an ethical problem until then projecting human feelings and ethics on lumps of meat, protein, insects, and animals is just anthromorphic nonsense hindering progress.
    • Got any kids you would like to volunteer for further study? Or are you volunteering for yourself? They/you will be heavily sedated, and if any of you do manage to communicate we promise to let you go, it's only ethical after all.
      • Really? You are equating a lump of cells with sedating a complete intelligent organism (our own) to shut it up?
        • Since when are animals just lumps of cells. If they are, why aren't you too?
          • Lumps of animal cells aren't animals any more than lumps of human cells are humans. Animals also are not humans, when they appear to be behaving like a human it is mostly humans projecting their feelings and emotions onto the acts of the animals.

            For example, when you feed a cat and stroke it and the cat purrs like I saw in a Purina cat food commercial. A human tends to associate that with love being expressed for care which is a human emotion, the cat on the other hand is purring as a biological response to
            • You are the one who added animals to your list of things.

              Your answer is 'that it's bad' except sometimes 'trade-offs' and 'it's ok' if we can try to change its mind?

              Lumps of cells can certainly grow into animals even humans. Happens hundreds of thousands of times every day.

              • "You are the one who added animals to your list of things."

                My list of things you might have lumps aka pieces aka hunks of. What I said includes a steak, what you said includes a cow, one is an animal, one is a lump of animal tissue. A cow most certainly can object to your research by expressing pain and/or resisting. You'll have no such reaction from a steak. Before you even bother ignoring context and suggesting you get steaks from cows I'll remind you the context is lumps of lab grown cells.

                "Lumps of cell
                • You sure do like words.

                  But don't try to use them to hide behind, or twist your statements into something that they weren't.

                  You started off saying lumps of cells and animals are ok but not humans, trying to draw a line somewhere to differentiate. And then towards the end admitted you would kill humans if the ends justified the means.

                  You originally tried to draw the line at 'being able to communicate', when I showed you that it was not a very good place for the line. You didn't indicate what sort of communi

  • New! Kellogg's Frosted Mini Brains

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!

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