How long do we have until the creation of the “pea people”? The BBC reports:
Miniature “human brains” have been grown in a lab by scientists at Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.
The pea-sized structures reached the same level of development as in a nine-week-old foetus, but are incapable of thought. The study has already been used to gain insight into rare diseases.
The scientists used either embryonic stem cells or adult skin cells to produce the part of an embryo that develops into the brain and spinal cord – the neuroectoderm. The cells were able to grow and organise themselves into separate regions of the brain, such as the cerebral cortex, the retina, and, rarely, an early hippocampus.
The “mini-brains” have survived for nearly a year, but did not grow any larger. There is no blood supply, just brain tissue, so nutrients and oxygen cannot penetrate into the middle of the brain-like structure.