"At the time, I did not think deeply enough about the ethical consideration".
Brain imaging and tissue section analysis shows altered patterns of neuron differentiation and delayed maturation of the neural system similar to developmental delay neoteny in humans, which is the retention of juvenile features into adulthood.
He eventually grew more and more uncomfortable with the generation of transgenic monkeys, "or even worse, transgenic apes", for studying brain development. Now we have created this animal which is different than it is supposed to be.
The remaining five, which the scientists confirmed have multiple copies of the human gene, were tasked with completing memory tests and were subjected to MRI scans.
The research paper said it was the first time such a study had taken place.
When it comes to the scientific use of nonhuman primates, ethicists say the moral compass is skewed in cases like this.
James Sikela, a geneticist and professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Colorado, Denver, said that experimenting on transgenic monkeys to understand human evolution is a "classic slippery slope ... and a very risky road to take".
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"It's not clear that this kind of research has any reasonable expectation of having any useful application for human beings", she said. "Regarding the five survivors, what kind of lives will they have going forward, altered as they are and confined to an experimental laboratory?"
"While altering one gene to enhance memory in some macaques won't throw Darwinism off-kilter - there's no risk of a "Planet of the Apes"-style uprising, yet - it could teach us how humanity became so intelligent and gives us hints as to why".
To mesh the human gene into the monkey genomes, the scientists injected viruses carrying the MCPH1 gene into monkey embryos and then allowed the monkeys to develop naturally. But, the monkey did not possess bigger brains than the control group.
Baum added that the study supported the theory that "slower maturity of brain cells might be a factor in improving intelligence during human evolution". As Vox reports, Su told the journal Nature in 2016 that he was also keen to experiment with FOXP2 a gene that expresses a protein required for the proper development of speech and language. "After all, the 2011 movie, 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes", began with a monkey being genetically modified for research into Alzheimer's disease. Last November, He Jiankui announced that he had edited the DNA of human embryos so that the babies would be resistant to HIV.
Scientists in China have inserted a human gene that plays an important role in our brain's development into the genome of macaque monkeys.
Martin Styner of the University of North Carolina who's role in this experiment was limited to training students how to extract brain volume from MRI images says "There are a bunch of aspects of this study that you could not do in the U.S., it raised issues about the type of research and whether the animals were properly cared for." .