Rats with HUMAN brains – ethical horror as human/rodent hybrids created in lab

Wednesday, November 8, 2017
By Paul Martin

MUTANT RATS with human brains have been developed in US laboratories investigating an Alzheimers cure – posing serious ethical questions over when a rat stops being a rat and starts being a human.

Wed, Nov 8, 2017

It emerged that scientists are integrating clusters of human brain cells into rodent brains in a bid to treat a number of illnesses from Alzheimers to Zika.

The respected MIT Technology Review reported researchers have used contoversial stem cell techniques to grow tiny clumps of human brain called organoids.

These organoids have been almost routinely inserted into rat brains and connected to a blood supply – effectively transplanting the brain of the donor human into a rat.

In a scenario straight out of a horror movie some of these organoids have then grown physical connections with the host rat brain – creating a human-rat mutant.

A further report in science journal Stat says: “Some of the axons grew as much as 1.5 millimeters, connecting to the corpus callosum, a bundle of neurons connecting the left and right cerebral hemispheres.

“When the scientists shined light on a rat’s eye, or stimulated brain regions involved in vision, neurons in the implanted organoid fired.

“That suggested the human brain tissue had become functionally integrated with the rat’s.”

The success of these experiments, and the prospect of more and bigger human brain cells being transplanted to bigger animals has led to a mass of ethical questions – not least do the organoids have consciousness? And when does a rat stop being a rat and start being a human?

The Rest…HERE

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