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Brain organoid research raises ethical challenges not seen in other forms of stem cell research. Given that brain organoids recapitulate the development of the human brain, it is plausible that brain organoids could one day attain consciousness and perhaps even higher cognitive abilities. Brain organoid research therefore raises difficult questions about these organoids’ moral status-questions that currently fall outside the scope of existing regulations and guidelines. This chapter offers a novel moral framework for brain organoid research. It outlines the conditions under which brain organoids might attain moral status and explain what this means for the ethics of experimenting with these entities.

Original publication





Book title

Rethinking Moral Status

Publication Date



250 - 268