Don’t monkey around with the human brain, scientists warn.
Research into transplanting lab-grown “mini-brains” from people into animals could trigger a wild “Planet of the Apes”-style scenario, biologists said in a new report.
Scientists from Kyoto University in Japan cautioned about unethical — and potentially dangerous — unforeseen situations that could arise from implanting stem cells known as brain “organoids,” according to Science Daily.
Animals that receive the dark matter could develop enhanced abilities and human-like traits much like apes that ran wild in the classic 1968 science fiction flick, researchers said in the report published March 26.
“The concern is not so much a biological humanization of the animal, which can happen with any organoid, but a moral humanization, which is exclusive to the brain,” wrote Tsutomu Sawai, the paper’s lead author. “This is still too futuristic, but that does not mean we should wait to decide on ethical guidelines.”
Developed in 2008, organoids are clumps of brain-like tissue usually grown from human stem cells. Previously, scientists have transplanted heart cells and brain cells into patients as a form of therapy.
Growing whole human brains inside animals is not currently under any serious consideration by scientists — but the paper probes the ethics of the future research.
“One of the biggest problems is transplants. Should we put brain organoids into animals to observe how the brain behaves?” Sawai writes.”But even if we cannot prove consciousness, we should set guidelines, because scientific advancements demand it.”
In “Planet of the Apes,” astronauts land on a world inhabited by super-intelligent primates, who oppress and enslave the human space travelers.