Modern science has achieved truly colossal results in working with the so-called organoids, which resemble a miniature version of a human organ. At the same time, the ethical component of this topic is increasingly coming to the fore each day, forcing researchers to consider whether their experiments can lead to the creation of biological creations in the laboratory suffering from the potential for consciousness in organoids. But can they really?
Can artificial organs have the consciousness?
According to the newsweek.com portal, a group of researchers in the field of neurobiology are planning to discuss the ethical consequences of the formation of organoids with sensitive tissues that may give scientists' creations the awareness and ability to suffer during laboratory experiments. Due to the fact that the last decade has been successful in producing artificially grown miniature organs based on living stem cells, the development of organoids produced using human brain cells can cause problems in the field of bioethics and the development of consciousness in the host provoke participation in the cell experiment.
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As you know, so-called undifferentiated cells can be successfully isolated from the stem cells of the human body, which under laboratory conditions can be transformed into various types of tissues and organs from the gut to the heart. By and large, their application in biotechnology is not a major dilemma and can be extremely useful for biomedical research, since they circumvent the problem of differences between human and animal biology that hamper progress with traditional methods, often involving animal testing and most of the ethical issues associated with the need for such studies.
However, when the use of undifferentiated body cells does not give cause to concern to bioethicists, the development of brain organoids and the brain activity found therein raises a multitude of questions as to whether human brain tissue can eventually reach consciousness after they have recognized it Essence of what happens to them.
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The brain organelles that currently exist in the lab are about the size of lenses and consist of about three million cells. In comparison, a full-fledged human brain has billions of cells. Nevertheless, studies have shown that self-created mini brains can have some activity. In August of this year, a team of scientists compared the activity of the artificial brain with that observed in premature babies born 25-39 weeks after conception.
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In order to reduce the risk of crossing the border between permissive and objectionable, the authors of the study insist on a thorough review of the experiments carried out on organoids, in particular on the implantation of the resulting organoids in the bodies of animals, for example mice.