Scientists in China have created a new species of monkey. It’s received a human mind gene. And that would possibly make its intelligence a little bit more like ours.
That, in flip, makes its destiny — and its very existence — very ethically fraught.
In a study revealed last month in the Beijing’s National Science Review journal, researchers took human copies of the MCPH1 gene, which is believed to play an essential position in our mind improvement, and launched it into monkey embryos via a virus that carried the gene.
Of the 11 transgenic macaque monkeys they generated, six died. The five survivors went utilizing a collection of checks, together with MRI brain scans and reminiscence checks. It turned out they didn’t have greater brains than a management group of macaques; however, they did carry out higher on brief-time period reminiscence duties. Their brains additionally developed over an extended time period, which is typical of human brains.
Though the pattern measurement was minimal, the scientists excitedly described the research as “the primary try to experimentally interrogate the genetic foundation of human mind origin utilizing a transgenic monkey model.” In different phrases, a part of the purpose of the research was to assist sort out a query about evolution: How did we people develop our distinctive model of intelligence, which has allowed us to innovate in methods different primates can’t?
The Chinese researchers suspect the MCPH1 gene is a part of the reply. However, they’re not stopping there. One among them, Bing Su, a geneticist on the Kunming Institute of Zoology, told MIT Technology Review that he’s already testing different genes concerned in mind evolution.