Science 2 min read

Chinese Researchers Implant Human Brain Genes Into Monkeys

This new controversial experiment, performed by Chinese researchers, placed human brain genes inside monkeys in an attempt to understand how human intelligence evolved.

Pixabay.com

Pixabay.com

In another controversial experiment, scientists in China have implanted human brain genes into monkeys to improve their intelligence. According to the team’s study published in the journal National Science Review, the experiment was conducted to understand the genetic aspects of the human brain and learn how human cognition evolved.

The research, sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Science, used 11 rhesus macaque monkey embryos. Each embryo received the human gene linked to the development of the brain, MCPH1, through a virus that carried it into the monkeys’ brains.

Six of the 11 monkeys used in the experiment reportedly died. James Sikela, a geneticist from the University of Colorado who is not involved in the study, said:

“The use of transgenic monkeys to study human genes linked to brain evolution is a very risky road to take. It is troubling that the field is steamrolling along in this manner.”

Implanting Human Brain Genes Into Monkeys

In their paper, the researchers claim that the monkeys who received human brain genes showed signs of better short-term memory functions. Furthermore, they also exhibited a similar development pattern to those of the human brain.

This is the first experiment of its kind and many scientists have criticized the work, claiming it to be unethical. Jacqueline Glover, a bioethicist from the University of Colorado, commented:

“You just go to the Planet of the Apes immediately in the popular imagination. To humanise 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.”

This is not the first time that the international scientific community has condemned Chinese scientists for their gene-related experiment on both humans and animals. Just recently, they cloned monkeys and gave them genes that cause congenital diseases. But perhaps, the most controversial was the work of  He Jiankui who was heavily criticized worldwide for creating the first gene-edited human babies.

Read More: China Clones “Mentally Ill” Gene-Edited Monkeys

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Rechelle Ann Fuertes

Rechelle is an SEO content producer, technical writer, researcher, social media manager, and visual artist. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with family and friends.

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