A controversial study in which the scientists implanted brain genes of humans into monkeys in order to make them smarter was carried out by the Chinese.
Ethical concerns have been raised after the researchers injected a human version of gene MCPH1 into 11 rhesus monkeys. As the scientists suggest, this gene plays an important role in the brain development of humans.
According to the results of the research, implanting human brain genes into the mammals caused them to perform better in tests of reaction time and short-term memory. However, they did not grow bigger brains than wild monkeys.
These latest biomedical experiments quickly picked attention in the international waters and sparked a massive moral debate with experts comparing the potential outcome of such experiments with the classic dystopian sci-fi movie called “Planet of the Apes.”
“Our findings demonstrated that transgenic nonhuman primates (excluding ape species) have the potential to provide important — and potentially unique — insights into basic questions of what actually makes human unique,” the study that was published in Beijing-based National Science Review read.
While the authors pointed out that rhesus monkeys are genetically distant enough to avoid ethical concerns, some people questioned the experiment and even called it dangerous.
“You just go to the ‘Planet of the Apes’ immediately in the popular imagination,” Jacqueline Glover, a bioethicist at the University of Colorado said.
“To humanize them is to cause harm. Where would they live and what would they do? Do not create a being that can’t have a meaningful life in any context,” she added in MIT Technology Review.
Hitting back at the sci-fi comparisons, Larry Baum of Hong Kong University’s Centre for Genomic Sciences said:
“The genome of rhesus monkeys differs from ours by a few percents. That’s millions of individual DNA bases differing between humans and monkeys.
“This study changed a few of those in just one of about 20,000 genes. You can decide for yourself whether there is anything to worry about.”
What are your thoughts on this experiment? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to SHARE this post with your friends and family!
“Little Girl Taunts Monkey With Food So He Retaliates By Punching Her In The Face!”