Scientists insert human brain genes into monkeys

  1. In a study on evolution of human intelligence, Chinese scientists have implanted human versions of MCPH1 gene in rhesus monkeys. MCPH1 gene is believed to play a role in the development of the human brain.
  2. The study which has been published in the journal National Science Review, was conducted by researchers at the Kunming Institute of Zoology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences in collaboration researchers at the University of North Carolina, U.S
  3. The study has found that the monkeys’ brains, like those of humans, took longer time to develop. Further, experimented monkeys performed better in tests of short-term memory as well as reaction time compared to wild monkeys. However, the brains did not grow larger.
  4. The experiment changing monkey’s behaviour and intelligence has raised ethical issues. Bioethicists have opined that human efforts to alter or modify animal behaviour is unethical and cause them harm.
  5. They have further added that adding human brain genes to a monkey is ethically unacceptable as it attempts to change how a monkey perceives and interacts with reality.