In one study to learn more about the way human brain, scientists in China added a gene to the human brain in the genome of the rhesus monkeys. This is called MC HP 1, or microcephalin, and is involved in adjusting fetal brain development.
Adding seems to make the monkeys smarter. The talents of transgenic animals take longer to develop – more like human children – and they also show better memory skills, and faster reactions, compared to their non changed colleagues.
"This is the first attempt to understand the evolution of human intelligence using a transgenic monkey model," said genetic Bing Su of Kunming Institute of Zoology Technology Analysis.
Transgenic organisms are nothing new. The first was published in 1
Human genes have been added to monkeys to study diseases and conditions such as autism, and pets are modified in human cognition genes, including modified microcephalin. But researchers believe it was the first time researchers used transgenic monkeys to look at the genes of human brain.
Scientists say, an experiment about ethical implications.
The team demonstrated the monkey embryo in a virus that transmitted human microcephalus. It has produced 11 transgenic rhesus monkeys that carry human genes, only five of them are really survivors.
"Our findings show that transgenic nonhuman primates (not including monkey species) have the potential to provide valuable – and potentially different – the insights into the basic questions of what really works of people who are unique, as well as in diseases and clinically related phenotypes, "researchers wrote on their paper.
But not everyone agrees. In fact, a paper in 2010 clearly condemns the whole concept of apes in human brain genes (though not necessarily monkeys), which calls potential "improper ethics "due to the high risk of damage to animals.
could be a step in that path.
"The use of transgenic monkeys to study human genes linked to brain evolution is a dangerous road mover," the geneticist James Sikela of the University of Colorado, co-authored 2010 paper "Told Technology Review
" This is a classic slippery slope issue and one that we can expect to return as this kind of research is pursued. "
In addition, one of the researchers of the latest study, computer scientist Martin Styner of the University of North Carolina, mentioned that there are aspects of the study that would not be allowed in a country with more stringent regulations , such as the US In fact, research did not find a publisher in the West.
Chinese genetic research was difficult after the work of geneticist He Jiankui, who claimed to have been edited the germination of human twins His American collaborator, Michael Deem of Rice University, was also under fire.
It is difficult to know whether Su's new research receives similar acceptance is not under the shadow by Jiankui, but the geneticist did not slow him down.
But Styner said he was considering taking his name on paper.
"Today we have created this animal naii Should we do the experiments, we need to have a good understanding of what we are trying to learn, to help society, and this is not the case, "he said.
"They are trying to understand the development of the brain get there."
The research was published in the National Science Review .