Modelling Neanderthal brains - on a small scale


June 23, 2018

In the journal Science this week, staff writer John Cohen, in a repoort entitled "Neanderthal brain organoids come to life",  summarizes work being done on replicating Neanderthal brains, on an  extremely small scale, at two research labs. Quoting from the article,

“None of this work has been published, but Alysson Muotri, a geneticist at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine, described his group's Neanderthal organoids for the first time this month at a UCSD conference called Imagination and Human Evolution. His team has coaxed stem cells endowed with Neanderthal DNA into pea-size masses that mimic the cortex, the outer layer of real brains. Compared with cortical minibrains made with typical human cells, the Neanderthal organoids have a different shape and differences in their neuronal networks, including some that may have influenced the species's ability to socialize. “We're trying to recreate Neanderthal minds,” Muotri says.”

But do not take this brief report as the whole story. Read the full  commentary in Science and judge for yourself.