Saturday , April 17 2021

Chinese scientists make "monkeys" smarter in a controversial experiment

For the first time, Chinese scientists have used genetic drainage techniques in order to make human brain drain.

The results of rhesus macaques are "smarter" because they found that they have better memories of unchanged monkeys, according to a recent study that has launched a fiery debate among ethics about how scientists should be able to take genetic experiments.

In the past, in fact, just one year ago, reproductive cloning techniques resulted in a pair of monkeys clones. This news was not accepted very well by the part of the scientific community.

However, the latest study published last month in Beijing National Survey of Science Journal describes the experiment, which is considered to be "the first attempt to experimentally investigate the genetic basis of the origin of the human brain using the transgenic monhyme model and values ​​the use of inhuman primates in understanding the human unique properties."

Monkey brains like human brains?

The researchers inserted copies of the man MCPH1 gene, which is essential for brain development in 11 monkey embryos through a virus that was carrying the gene. Six monkeys died. The other five, however, showed obvious steps in their cognitive functions.

According to the study, the five monkeys did not show much difference in their general behavior or the size of their brain. But they went through brain scanning and memory tests that showed improvements in their short-term memory, reaction time, and brain development.

The study says monkeys have "the potential to provide important and potentially unique insights into the fundamental issues of what actually makes a human unique, as well as in disorders and clinically relevant phenotypes, such as neurodegenerative and social disorders that are difficult to study other means."

Although the size of the sample was very small, scientists excitedly described the study as the first time the human brain was researched from a genetic angle, using the brain of the guys as a model.

In other words, the point was to help deal with the issue of evolution: How did people develop our unique brands of intelligence, which enabled us to innovate in a way that other primates can not?

Great ethical debate

"The use of transgenic monkeys to study human genes associated with brain evolution is a very risky way of taking," said the Colorado University geneticist, James Sikkel, told Review of MIT technology. "It's a classically slippery slippery one and one we can expect to repeat as this type of research is being carried out."

This image published by the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Neuroscience shows five cloned macaques in a research facility in Shanghai. (Source: STR / AFP / Getty Images)

This image published by the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Neuroscience shows five cloned macaques in a research facility in Shanghai. (Source: STR / AFP / Getty Images)

Primates are often used in studies aimed at understanding how various diseases develop and how we can treat them in humans, but it is important to note that there is a difference between giving a monkey disease and giving the animal more human intelligence. If diseases are inflicted on animals, they can be harmed, but their basic nature (like an animal) is not affected.

However, adding genes to the human brain of a monkey means to change in principle the way a monkey perceives and communicates with reality. So, even if it is morally acceptable to experiment with the apes, in order to better treat human illness, it is still a major leap from Su's experiment.

Ultimately, the very premise of the experiment is that monkeys can end up more human as a result.

In 2010, titled "The ethics of using transgenic non-human primates to study what makes us human," Glover and her co-authors wrote that it is unethical to add human brain genes to monkeys (such as chimps) .

Barbara J. King, author of "How Animal Mourns" and Anthropology Professor at William and Mary College, called Bing Su (a genetic researcher at the Kunming Institute of Zoology), is experimenting with a "ethical nightmare". She said: "More than genetically altered monkeys, six have died than they lived, so we immediately see from the bat that the procedure is often deadly. As for the five survivors, what kind of life they will go forward, they change as are they limited to an experimental laboratory? "

However, Bing Su told MIT Technology Review, he added a variant of DNA called SRGAP2C, which is an essential link in the emergence of human intelligence, to monkeys. He said the results of those studies have yet to be published.

Superb picture: The brain of the brain is inserted with the gene of the human brain, which makes them behave more "human". (Source: Pixabay)

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