Experts argue that experiments have edged so much closer to the possibility of consciousness that guidelines are needed

“I have never seen so many brains out of their heads before!” declares Dr Michael Hfuhruhurr, the world-renowned neurosurgeon played by Steve Martin who has a love affair with a brain in a jar in the 1983 movie, The Man with Two Brains.

Thirty five years on, the prospect of falling for a disembodied brain is still looking slim, but researchers have made such progress in growing and maintaining human brain tissue in the lab that a group of scientists, lawyers, ethicists and philosophers have called for an ethical debate about the work.

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Read More Growing brains in labs: why it’s time for an ethical debate

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