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Science & Technology

Human genes used to enhance monkey brains

By T.K. Randall
April 16, 2019 · Comment icon 20 comments

Let's hope the experiment isn't too effective. Image Credit: Pixabay / Gellinger
A controversial experiment in China has been likened to something out of a 'Planet of the Apes' movie.
The research, which was carried out through a collaboration between the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Kunming Institute of Zoology and the University of North Carolina, involved inserting a specific gene involved in human brain development in to the genomes of 11 rhesus monkeys.

The idea was to see if this would improve the animals' memory and cognitive abilities.

Intriguingly, the research actually did appear to make the monkeys perform better on memory tests and reaction time tests when compared to animals that had not received the treatment.

That said however, the experiment, which saw only five of the monkeys live long enough to be tested, has been mired in controversy due to the use of live primates.
"The first ethical issue concerns whether this research is scientifically sound enough to justify the use of animals," said bioethicist Jacqueline Glover from the University of Colorado.

"The second issue concerns whether it is appropriate to use monkeys in particular. Can this research be done with alternatives that do not involve risks to nonhuman primates?"

"Groups are putting human genes in chimp brain oganoids as an alternative to using living primates for getting information about how human brain genes work."

As for the 'Planet of the Apes' comparisons - while the experiment did improve the cognitive capabilities of the monkeys, we're unlikely to be seeing an ape uprising anytime soon.

Source: | Comments (20)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #11 Posted by Likely Guy 5 years ago
*the Quadraped Alliance masses*
Comment icon #12 Posted by Imaginarynumber1 5 years ago
*chest beating intensifies*
Comment icon #13 Posted by Buzz_Light_Year 5 years ago
The U.S. beat the Chinese to this long ago and we now have 535 of them and they're already called a Congress.
Comment icon #14 Posted by EnderOTD 5 years ago
Today’s empires, tomorrow’s ashes, or maybe monkey food?
Comment icon #15 Posted by Piney 5 years ago
Well, your not too far from our rice lakes so you know where to go.   We won't eat dogs.....monkeys are a different story.    
Comment icon #16 Posted by Likely Guy 5 years ago
*panoply of hooves, feet and claws*
Comment icon #17 Posted by jmccr8 5 years ago
I wonder if there will be a market for nursing bras? jmccr8
Comment icon #18 Posted by mdbuilder 5 years ago
I often wondered where democrats came from...
Comment icon #19 Posted by aniknonymous 5 years ago
ppfff please... go for a walk or even look at some people you are close with. now observe them. seriously, observe their behavior and logic. you will soon find out that they are hybrids, monkey brain in a human body. especialy true in politics and places that greatly require common logic
Comment icon #20 Posted by TripGun 5 years ago
This could be very beneficial to humans in determining the causality and eventual curing of Alzheimer's disease.

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