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Mini brains may wrinkle and fold just like ours

Growing organoids on glass provides a window into the push and pull of brain cells

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7:00am, December 12, 2017
brain

ANOTHER WRINKLE  The outer layer of the human brain has distinctive folds. Work with brains growing in lab dishes is showing how the structures may form.

PHILADELPHIA — Flat brains growing on microscope slides may have revealed a new wrinkle in the story of how the brain folds.

Cells inside the brains contract, while cells on the outside grow and push outward, researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, discovered from working with the lab-grown brains, or organoids. This push and pull results in folds in the organoids similar to those found in full-size brains. Orly Reiner reported the results December 5 at the joint meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology and the European Molecular Biology Organization.

Reiner and her colleagues sandwiched human brain stem cells between a glass microscope slide and a porous membrane. The apparatus allowed the cells access to nutrients and oxygen while giving the researchers a peek at how the organoids grew. The cells formed layered sheets that closed up at the edges, making

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