STATES CHRONICLE – A team of researchers undertook several experiments which sparked plenty of ethical debates. They collected some tissue from human brains, and inserted it inside the skulls of rats and mice. This led to a lot of concern and outrage among scientists, who were afraid of the possible development of a real-life Frankenstein.
The brain implants might soon enhance the animals’ consciousness
It’s extremely unlikely that animals might be able to develop a thinking capacity similar to that of humans. However, if such experiments get advanced enough, they might be able to enhance the creatures’ consciousness over time. If this happens, then scientists will have to face a lot more ethical dilemmas.
The pieces of brain tissue that scientists implanted are called organoids, and basically are some mini versions of the organ itself created artificially. The tissues are made of stem cells, and are quite active from an electric point of view. This means they can grow their own neurons, and functions mostly like the real organ. However, there’s a long way from here to a more advanced cognitive activity.
The experiment revealed how these organoids could easily blend in the animals’ brains. This means that, one day, they might affect their function as well. In fact, the purpose of this kind of tissue would be to improve the performance of the human brain in diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
The experiment poses huge ethical dilemmas
However, researchers need to keep implanting organoids in animal brains to see how they can impact the cognitive function. If animals receive more of such implants, they will start thinking more and getting close to the function of a human brain.
This leads to many other ethical issues, as a more advanced form of consciousness cannot be treated like a test animal, even if it’s not human. Animal testing is considered ethical because the animals do not understand what it’s going on with them, but giving them enhanced consciousness will not allow scientists to keep performing these tests.
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