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Development. 2018 Nov 19;145(22). pii: dev172049. doi: 10.1242/dev.172049.

Exploring landscapes of brain morphogenesis with organoids.

Author information

Department of Basic Neurosciences, University of Geneva, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland
Clinic of Neurology, Geneva University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland.
MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Cambridge CB2 0QH, UK


The field of developmental neuroscience is benefitting from recent technological advances that allow access to organogenesis in vitro via organoid preparations. These methods have been applied to better understanding neural identity, and have opened up a window into the early events that occur during development of the human brain. However, current approaches are not without their limitations, and although brain organoids and other in vitro paradigms recapitulate many processes with remarkable fidelity, there are clear differences between brain organoid development in vitro and brain development in vivo These topics were discussed extensively at a recent workshop organized by The Company of Biologists entitled 'Thinking beyond the dish: taking in vitro neural differentiation to the next level'. Here, we summarize the common themes that emerged from the workshop and highlight some of the limitations and the potential of this emerging technology. In particular, we discuss how organoids can help us understand not only healthy and diseased brain, but also explore new arrays of cellular behaviors.


In vitro; Neural development; Neural differentiation; Organoids


Conflict of interest statement

Competing interestsM.L. is an inventor on patents describing brain organoid methodologies.

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