A development that looks like the very beginning of a well-known science fiction film. A team of researchers injected human genes into a monkey embryo to create an animal with a larger, more advanced brain.
The German Institute Max Planck of molecular cell biology and genetics in Germany, and the Japanese Central Institute for Experimental Animals, work on implanted copies of the human ARHGAP11B genes in the monkey embryo.
Scientists reported that the neocortex of the monkey (a common macaque) the part of the brain involved in language and learning, was greatly amplified by this action.
The findings confirm previous research which indicated that human ARHGAP11B genes are a key factor in the development of intelligence.
Research on human genes implanted in a monkey embryo
The new research, published in the latest issue of "Science" magazine, sheds light on how to develop the thinking skills that transformed our ancestors into today's creatures capable of developing civilizations, cities, spacecraft (and talent shows).
“We actually found that the neocortex of the monkey's brain got bigger. The cortical plate was also thicker than normal, ”he said Michael Hyde, lead author of the study, in a press release.
The co-author of the study Wieland Huttner stressed that the organisms subjected to these tests with human genes on animals cannot develop beyond the embryonic stage for ethical reasons.
“In light of the potential unforeseen consequences on postpartum brain function, we considered it a mandatory prerequisite, from an ethical point of view. That of determining the effects of the human ARHGAP11B genes only on the development of the neocortex of the fetus ".