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Scientists have taken another step toward creating more realistic human cerebral organoids, or “mini brains in a dish.” But that progress has raised fresh ethical questions, such as whether these organoids will ever become sophisticated enough to attain consciousness.

Both the progress and the questions were evident during a discussion on organoids Thursday at the annual meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research, which has drawn some 3,200 scientists, physicians, ethicists, and others to Boston this week.

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