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Cell Stem Cell. 2019 Oct 3;25(4):462-472. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2019.09.002.

Transplantation of Human Brain Organoids: Revisiting the Science and Ethics of Brain Chimeras.

Author information

1
Department of Neurosurgery, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA; Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA; Corporal Michael J. Crescenz Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. Electronic address: isaac.chen@pennmedicine.upenn.edu.
2
Department of Neurosurgery, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA; Corporal Michael J. Crescenz Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
3
Department of Neurosurgery, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
4
Department of Neuroscience, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
5
Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA; Department of Philosophy, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
6
Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA; Department of Neuroscience, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA; Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA; Department of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
7
Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA; Department of Neuroscience, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA; Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA; The Epigenetics Institute, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

Abstract

Recent demonstrations of human brain organoid transplantation in rodents have accentuated ethical concerns associated with these entities, especially as they relate to potential "humanization" of host animals. Consideration of established scientific principles can help define the realistic range of expected outcomes in such transplantation studies. This practical approach suggests that augmentation of discrete brain functions in transplant hosts is a more relevant ethical question in the near term than the possibility of "conscious" chimeric animals. We hope that this framework contributes to a balanced approach for proceeding with studies involving brain organoid transplantation and other forms of human-animal brain chimeras.

KEYWORDS:

brain organoid; chimera; consciousness; enhancement; ethics; transplantation

PMID:
31585092
DOI:
10.1016/j.stem.2019.09.002

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