These lab-grown brains have managed to develop eyes using groundbreaking techniques developed by Scientists at the University Hospital Dusseldorf. These brains have been grown from pluripotent stem cells and programmed to form the 3D structure of a brain. By Reverse engineering stem cells that have been taken from the human body in the form of skin or blood, they have the potential to develop in any cell of the human body.
Neuroscientist Jay Gopalakrishnan who was involved in the study mentioned that the main difference between these lab-grown brains and human brains is that they lack consciousness, though, or the ability to develop emotions.
This experiment has been done so that scientists can understand why certain brain and eye diseases develop within the human body, during embryo development.
“Our work highlights the remarkable ability of brain organoids to generate primitive sensory structures that are light sensitive and harbor cell types similar to those found in the body. These organoids can help to study brain-eye interactions during embryo development, model congenital retinal disorders, and generate patient-specific retinal cell types for personalized drug testing and transplantation therapies.” (Quote by senior study author Jay Gopalakrishnan of University Hospital Düsseldorf)
Despite the brains lacking consciousness, they were alive and working as the brain cells formed networks that would react to the environment around them. Neural brain function was tested by shining a light into the eyes of the brain. The high traffic produced in the brain where data was transferred showed that the organism was alive and functioning as intended by neuroscientists.
If such a "synthetic" organism can be crafted in a laboratory, just imagine what scientists would be able to develop in the next 10 years. Although the study is bringing some controversy as expected, the researchers behind the experiment are assuring the public that this is done only for scientific purposes and to help the medical industry better understand the early development of retinal diseases that form in babies.