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Scientists insert human brain genes into monkeys

Date: 13 April 2019 Tags: Biotechnology

Scientists from China have implanted Microcephalin (MCPH1) human brain genes into 11 rhesus monkeys, in study on evolution of human intelligence. MCPH1 is Protein Coding gene that scientists believe plays a role in the development of the human brain. It is believed to be playing key role in development of the human brain. Certain mutations in MCPH1, when homozygous, cause primary microcephaly (a severely diminished or smaller brain).

Findings of Study

Scientists found Monkeys’ brains like those of humans took longer to develop. These monkeys performed better in tests of short-term memory as well as reaction time compared to wild monkeys. However, monkeys did not grow bigger brains than control group.

Ethical Cocerns

This human brain genes inducing test in monkeys is latest in series of genetic experiments conducted in China that have fuelled medical ethics debates. This study has already drawn ethical concerns and comparisons with dystopian sci-fi movie Planet of the Apes. China was first country in the world to create monkeys altered with gene-editing tool CRISPR.