Mini brains grown in a lab from stem cells have spontaneously developed rudimentary eye structures, scientists report in a fascinating new paper.
On tiny, human-derived brain organoids grown in dishes, two bilaterally symmetrical optic cups were seen to grow, mirroring the development of eye structures in human embryos. This incredible result will help us to better understand the process of eye differentiation and development, as well as eye diseases.
“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,” said neuroscientist Jay Gopalakrishnan of University Hospital Düsseldorf in Germany.
“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.”