Mar 7, 2021

Scientists grow human-Neanderthal hybrid ‘minibrains’ in petri dishes

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, neuroscience

SB Acharyya.

This is correct…/10…/fnhum.2010.00224/

Sesame seed-size brains created from a mix of human and Neanderthal genes lived briefly in petri dishes in a University of California, San Diego laboratory, offering tantalizing clues as to how the organs have evolved over millennia.

Scientists have long wondered how human beings evolved to have such big, complex brains. One way to figure that out is by comparing modern genes involved in brain development with those found in our ancient cousins. Though scientists have found plenty of fossilized remains from Neanderthals — cousins of modern humans that died out about 37000 years ago — they have yet to find a preserved Neanderthal brain. To bridge that gap in knowledge, a research team grew tiny, unconscious “minibrains” in petri dishes. Some of the brains were grown using standard human genes, and others were altered using the gene-editing tool CRISPR to have a brain development gene taken from Neanderthal remains.

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