Science & Technology
Scientists put human genes into monkey brains
By T.K. Randall
November 20, 2020 · 9 comments
Perhaps the movies weren't as far-fetched as we thought... Image Credit: CC BY 2.5 Carmem A. Busko
A recent experiment has raised eyebrows due to its potential to bring about a real-life Planet of the Apes.
Meddling with the intelligence of non-human primates might seem like a recipe for disaster, however that hasn't stopped scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Germany from engineering marmosets with human genes inserted into their brains.
The experiment, which may ring alarm bells for anyone familiar with the Planet of the Apes
movies, reportedly resulted in the monkeys growing a larger neocortex - the part of the brain responsible for higher functions such as sensory perception, cognition, spatial reasoning and language.
The physical shape of their brains also changed to mimic aspects of the human brain.
"We found indeed that the neocortex of the common marmoset brain was enlarged and the brain surface folded," said study author Michael Heide. "Its cortical plate was also thicker than normal."
"Furthermore, we could see increased numbers of basal radial glia progenitors in the outer subventricular zone and increased numbers of upper-layer neurons, the neuron type that increases in primate evolution."
Sadly the marmosets themselves did not get beyond the foetal stage, however it is easy to imagine how in the future, enhancing the cognitive abilities of animals may be a very real possibility.
It may even one day be possible to do the same in humans.
Source: Bro Bible
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