Lab-Made Mini Brains

November 2, 2021

From engineering on human stem cells, a team of scientists generated miniature “organoids” that shed light on what the nervous systems of Neanderthals might have looked like.

Although these distant relatives are extinct, these “mini brains” manufactured in the laboratory of the University of Basel, in Switzerland, could shed light on their brain constitution.

The Swiss researchers who made these tissues note clear differences from human organs. In addition to the size, texture and shape of these scale organs change radically. However, the results of the study – published in Science this February – could help to understand the genetic makeup that gave rise to the brain of Homo sapiens sapiens.

According to the study, 40% of the Neanderthal genome can still be found among living humans. Despite laboratory tests, scientists have been skeptical of the actual similarities between ancient and contemporary fabrics. However, they remain hopeful of understanding what makes humans unique, at least at the brain level.

The team in charge of the study found 277 genes that had a different activity between the old gene and human organoids. From the evidence of mini brains, it is known that these structures affect neural development and the connectivity between these cells.

Consequently, the ancient organs had different proteins to make synapses, and their neurons were less ordered than the tissues of Sapiens. Scientists were surprised that such a small change resulted in a completely different evolutionary path between human species.

Dr. Loony Davis5
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Born and raised in Brussels in an English family, I have always lived in a multicultural environment. After several work experiences in marketing and communication, I came to Smart Water Magazine, which I describe as the most exciting challenge of my career.
I am a person with great restlessness and curiosity to learn, discover what I do not know, as well as reinvent myself daily, someone who is curious about life and wants to know. I enjoy sharing knowledge.
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