Scientists have revealed a plan to grow miniature Neanderthal ‘brains’ in the lab in order to find the aspects of difference between them and the human species.
A team of researchers who have previously inserted Neanderthal genes into mice and frogs’ eggs are now using the technique to understand how humans became ‘cognitively special’ compared to their ancient relatives, according to the Guardian British newspaper.
The lab-grown mini brains will only be about the size of a lentil, and cannot achieve thoughts or feelings – but, by mimicking the basic structure of the developed brain, they could reveal key differences in how the nerve cells function.
The team will grow brain organoids from human stem cells, using genes that have been edited to be identical to the Neanderthal brain.
By comparing the genetically engineered Neanderthal brains to human ones, the experts say they could uncover key clues on the differences between the two.
This could include clear insight on their ability to plan, socialize, and use language.
The work relies on the Crispr gene-editing technique to create the mini brains of the Neanderthal in order to find how Neanderthal genes are tied to non-African human groups like European and Asian populations.
According to the researchers, the work could ultimately reveal more about the ways in which humans closest relatives differed from them, which could help to explain why humanity flourished.
Source: Daily Mail