. . . By inserting human genes?
The UK Daily Mail summarises news reports making the rounds:
The report details:
A new study into the unique evolution of human intelligence has raised ethical concerns after Chinese scientists implanted human brain genes into monkeys to boost their development.
Researchers inserted human versions of MCPH1, a gene that scientists believe plays a role in the development of the human brain, into 11 rhesus monkeys.
They found the monkeys’ brains — like those of humans — took longer to develop, and the animals performed better in tests of short-term memory as well as reaction time compared to wild monkeys.
However, the monkeys did not grow bigger brains than the control group.
The test, the latest in a series of biomedical experiments in China to have fuelled medical ethics debates, has already drawn ethical concerns, and comparisons with dystopian sci-fi ‘Planet of the Apes’.
So, is this real or “monkey business”? Are we about to go bananas, Planet of the Apes style?
I rather doubt it. It seems from details, some research was done by “Kunming Institute of Zoology and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, working with US researchers at the University of North Carolina ” and on a fairly small sample of survivors, may have shown improved brain functionality. They went on to speculate on ” findings demonstrated that transgenic nonhuman primates (excluding ape species) have the potential to provide important — and potentially unique — insights into basic questions of what actually makes human unique.”
And of course, as rhesus monkeys are fairly low on the evolutionary totem-pole, they thought ethical concerns are minimised.
Monkeying with monkey genomes, of course, points to attempts to do the same with humans, and there is already talk of gene editing, i.e. Eugenics 2.0 looms, maybe even Stalin’s dream of half-ape super-soldiers (and suitably dimwit labourers for those dark satanic mills). Can sexual companions be far behind, given that sex robots are being made now?
Lest we forget, this is how Eugenics 1.0 was conceived of by its leaders and how it was sold to the masses:
Where, Hunter’s Civic Biology (the book at the heart of the infamous Scopes trial and promotional stunt) — as its title suggests — advocated eugenics.
So, it seems there are ontological, ethical, scientific and policy issues on the table forming a potentially toxic brew indeed.
Well, what do we think, why? END