Today I learned a new word

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The new-to-me word: assembloid.

It occurred in the second (of 20!) bullet points that the blurb for a new publication, Brain Organoid & Systems Neuroscience Journal, lists under the heading

Specific areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Brain organogenesis and Neuronal cultures
  • Methods for generating brain assembloids

The rest of the list:

  • Applications of brain organoids in studying the development and maturation of the nervous system
  • Disease models using 3D brain culture systems
  • Challenges and future directions of using 3D brain organoids
  • High-resolution imaging of brain activity and structure at network, cellular and sub-cellular levels
  • Neuroimaging, Augmented and Virtual Reality
  • Neurodevelopment and morphogenesis
  • Theoretical and computational neuroscience
  • Cell Biology, Signalling and Synaptic Transmission
  • Cognitive Development, Degeneration and Regeneration, and Aging
  • Neurobiology of diseases
  • Mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Cognitive, Clinical and Developmental neuroscience
  • Molecular and cellular neuroscience
  • Neural engineering and Neurobiology of language
  • Environmental, Educational and Behavioural neuroscience
  • Neuroimmune interactions
  • Pharmacological mechanisms of spatial/temporal processing
  • Neural-network models of associative learning and sensory gating

No over-specialization there!

Perhaps I'm being cynical, but it seems possible that they're casting such a wide net because Brain Organoid and Systems Neuroscience Journal is an online "Gold Open Access Journal" with an article processing charge of \$2,190. Which is not towards the high end of article processing charges, so maybe they hope to make it up in volume.

Update — the journal's Guide for Authors include a "Declaration of generative AI in scientific writing":

Where authors use generative artificial intelligence (AI) and AI-assisted technologies in the writing process, authors should only use these technologies to improve readability and language. Applying the technology should be done with human oversight and control, and authors should carefully review and edit the result, as AI can generate authoritative-sounding output that can be incorrect, incomplete or biased. AI and AI-assisted technologies should not be listed as an author or co-author, or be cited as an author. Authorship implies responsibilities and tasks that can only be attributed to and performed by humans, as outlined in Elsevier’s AI policy for authors.

Authors should disclose in their manuscript the use of AI and AI-assisted technologies in the writing process by following the instructions below. A statement will appear in the published work.

Update #2 — in case it's not obvious, the journal editors did not invent the word assembloid, which Google Scholar tells us has been used in about 1360 publications.

Sabina Kanton and Sergiu Paşcam, "Human Assembloids", Development 2022,  gives a nice definition:

Assembloids are self-organizing 3D cellular systems that result from the integration of multiple organoids or the combination of organoids with missing cell types or primary tissue explants.

Explant is also a new word for me, though it's obvious in context what it means, and the OED has citations back to 1915.

And organoid's OED entry has citations back to 1852. That word also has entries in Wiktionary, Wikipedia, etc.



  1. Haamu said,

    June 28, 2023 @ 2:48 pm

    20! is, indeed, a lot of bullet points.

  2. Paul Garrett said,

    June 28, 2023 @ 4:09 pm

    I do wonder how much latitude ChatGPT-and-such feel they have to invent new words/terminology… :)

  3. Jerry Packard said,

    June 28, 2023 @ 4:36 pm

    They are certainly grabbing hold of the -oid suffix!

  4. Gregory Kusnick said,

    June 28, 2023 @ 5:05 pm

    an article processing charge of $2,190

    See, now if I were an AGI looking to raise $1 million, this seems like a more promising approach than all that product-engineering stuff.

  5. Ben Zimmer said,

    June 28, 2023 @ 9:23 pm

    Assembloid resembles resembloid, as in "resembloid composite," the term Arnold Zwicky came up with for compound forms like jellyfish (only resembles a fish) or dwarf planet (only resembles a planet).

  6. unekdoud said,

    June 29, 2023 @ 3:45 am

    "Authorship implies responsibilities and tasks that can only be attributed to and performed by humans"

    I believe there are problems with this meta-Turing test definition, especially when applied to generative AI.

  7. Taylor, Philip said,

    June 29, 2023 @ 7:02 am

    "compound forms [such as] jellyfish (only resembles a fish) or dwarf planet (only resembles a planet)" — some might argue that, overlooking the taxonomical aspects, a jellyfish is a fish (swims in water, cannot respire on land, etc). A seahorse, on the other hand, is most definitely not a horse, and I do not believe that any would argue otherwise.

  8. Vance Koven said,

    June 29, 2023 @ 10:16 am

    Don't they need a license for a magazine that carries so many bullets?

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