A new scientific study claims that human urine can be converted into brain cells. And the surprising discovery may extend beyond practical applications, allowing a way to circumvent the controversial debate over stem cell research.

The study, published online in Nature Methods and conducted by a team led by Chinese stem-cell biologist Duanqing Pei, found that cells generated from human waste might someday be used to study disease and even in therapeutic treatments for neurodegenerative diseases.