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Sophisticated ‘mini-brains’ add to evidence of Zika’s toll on fetal cortex

Studying a new type of pinhead-size, lab-grown brain made with technology first suggested by three high school students, Johns Hopkins researchers have confirmed1 a key way in which Zika virus causes microcephaly and other damage in fetal brains: by infecting specialized stem cells that build its outer layer, the cortex.

Mini Brain
This is a mini-brain infected with Zika virus. The virus is shown in green, vulnerable neural progenitor cells are shown in red, and neurons are shown in blue.
Credit: Xuyu Qian/Johns Hopkins Medicine