Monkeys implanted with HUMAN BRAIN genes - with SHOCKING results

14 April, 2019, 16:07 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • Scientists make smarter monkeys with human genes

After implanting 11 monkeys with different versions of MCPH1, a gene considered key to the development of the human brain, the scientists concluded that, like humans, the brain of the tested monkeys took longer to develop and performed better in short-term memory and reaction time tests compared to wild monkeys. However, the scientific community raised ethical questions on the use of transgenic monkeys for experiments.

To mesh the human gene into the monkey genomes, the scientists injected viruses carrying the MCPH1 gene into monkey embryos and then allowed the monkeys to develop naturally.

Another Chinese researcher - the disgraced Professor He Jiankui - faced global condemnation after he told the world he had created the first gene-edited babies in November 2018.

Animal rights group PETA also did not favor the experiment, saying that genetic engineering is absolutely unethical and only increases animal suffering.

The experiment, which was conducted at the Kunming Institute of Zoology and the Chinese Academy of Sciences with the help of USA researchers at the University of North Carolina, involves inserting a human version of Microcephalin (MCPH1), a gene that is believed to play a role in the development of human brains, into the brains of 11 rhesus monkeys, according to AFP. These surviving monkeys were put through a barrage of cognitive tests, including memory tests and brain scans. In the future, similar research might enable scientists to develop treatments for diseases caused by abnormal brain development.

Bing Su, the geneticist at the Kunming Institute of Zoology who led the effort, said: "this was the first attempt to understand the evolution of human cognition using a transgenic monkey model".

Scientists make smarter monkeys with human genes
Monkeys Made Smarter by Human Gene-Editing

Martin Styner of the University of North Carolina who's role in this experiment was limited to training students how to extract brain volume from MRI images says "There are a bunch of aspects of this study that you could not do in the U.S., it raised issues about the type of research and whether the animals were properly cared for." .

"You just go to the Planet of the Apes immediately in the popular imagination", bioethicist at University of Colorado, Jacqueline Glover, said while speaking to MIT Technology Review via AFP. "Do not create a being that can't have a meaningful life in any context".

Su says he is making more monkeys and is testing a new brain evolution gene called SRGAP2C, which is a gene variant that arose about 2 million years ago when Australopithecus was ceding in the African savannah to human, this gene has been dubbed the humanity switch and missing genetic link because of its likely role in the emergence of human intelligence. This study changed a few of those in just one of about 20,000 genes. "These harms render the conduct of this research ethically unacceptable in apes, justifying regulatory barriers between these species and all other non-human primates for transgenic research", Sikela and colleagues wrote at the time. "You can decide for yourself whether there is anything to worry about".

This experiment did not turn out well as the animals suffered mental problems including depression, anxiety, and behaviors linked to schizophrenia.

They said the study was meant to aid research into human psychological problems.


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