News & AnalysisNEURODEVELOPMENT

Lab Dishes Up Mini-Brains

Science  30 Aug 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6149, pp. 946-947
DOI: 10.1126/science.341.6149.946

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Summary

Many neuroscientists are thrilled at the possibility of studying cell clusters, no bigger than apple seeds, dubbed "cerebral organoids." These semiorganized knots of neural tissue, grown from human embryonic stem cells, contain the rudiments of key parts of the human brain, including the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. Developmental geneticist Madeline Lancaster and her colleagues, who grew the organoids in a Vienna laboratory, have already shown that they can be used to probe how normal human brain development goes awry in a genetic brain disorder.