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Studies That Add Human Cells To Animal Brains Are Ethical, Panel Says

sciencehabit shares a report from Science Magazine: Experiments that create tiny brainlike structures from human stem cells or transplant human cells into an animal’s brain have made some scientists, ethicists, and religious leaders uneasy in recent years. And the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has restricted some of this research. Now, a U.S. scientific panel has weighed in with advice about how to oversee this controversial and fast-moving area of neuroscience. The panel finds little evidence that brain “organoids” or animals given human cells experience humanlike consciousness or pain, and concludes current rules are adequate for overseeing this work. But they caution that could change, particularly as experiments move into nonhuman primates. “The rationale for the report is to get out ahead of the curve,” says Harvard University neuroscientist Joshua Sanes, co-chair of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committee that released its report today.

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