This organic fabric has been manufactured in a laboratory, and has developed its own primitive eyes
With the help of stem cells capable of developing to offer different functions, a team of researchers has created a kind of “mini brain”. This small mass that mimics the functions of the brain did not stop there, but developed its own optical structures capable of reacting to light. The most similar to what happened with the origin of the first animals.
The study, published in Cell Stem Cell, demonstrate how the experiment allowed to recreate what happens in embryos. When the embryo grows inside the belly, it develops the first organs, including the eyes. Studies like this allow to study improvements in the interactions between brain and eyes during embryo development.
From independent cells to a connected optical system
As they reflect, on the first day of the experiment the stem cells were simply disconnected points, independent cells in a common space. Little by little things changed by day 10 they had already formed a neurosphere or group of cellular tissue.
By the time they were about to turn a month old, the large tissue had already developed a basic optical structure. By two months, complete optic vesicles had developed, which are the basis of the eyes of animals.
Inside these primitive eyes networks of electrically active neurons formed that reacted to light. They also developed lens and corneal cells like a real eye.
The study says that of 314 mini brains that grew in the laboratory, 73% of them developed the optical structures. Researchers are now looking for a way to keep these organoids alive longer for longer-term research.
But why grow mini brains in a lab? It really is a common practice, just like grow other organs like the heart, allows researchers experiment with different techniques or medications that then apply to humans or other animals. In this case, better understand how eyes are formed and how to prevent diseases from the beginning of eye growth.