Chinese scientists have put human brain genes in monkeys—and yes, they may be smarter

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A quest to understand how human intelligence evolved raises some ethical questions.

Human intelligence is one of evolution’s most consequential inventions. It is the result of a sprint that started millions of years ago, leading to ever bigger brains and new abilities. Eventually, humans stood upright, took up the plow, and created civilization, while our primate cousins stayed in the trees.

Now scientists in southern China report that they’ve tried to narrow the evolutionary gap, creating several transgenic macaque monkeys with extra copies of a human gene suspected of playing a role in shaping human intelligence.

“This was the first attempt to understand the evolution of human cognition using a transgenic monkey model,” says Bing Su, the geneticist at the Kunming Institute of Zoology who led the effort.

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Transgenics – next wave of genetically modified crops could ease concerns over ‘Frankenfoods’

Transgenic canola

When the first genetically modified (GM) organisms were being developed for the farm, says Anastasia Bodnar, “we were promised rocket jet packs” — futuristic, ultra-nutritious crops that would bring exotic produce to the supermarket and help to feed a hungry world.

 

 

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Scientists Incorporate Spider’s Silk-Spinning Genes Into Goats

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Goats that produce spider silk protein in their milk could enable researchers to collect large quantities of the silk.

Researchers from the University of Wyoming have developed a way to incorporate spiders’ silk-spinning genes into goats, allowing the researchers to harvest the silk protein from the goats’ milk for a variety of applications. For instance, due to its strength and elasticity, spider silk fiber could have several medical uses, such as for making artificial ligaments and tendons, for eye sutures, and for jaw repair. The silk could also have applications in bulletproof vests and improved car airbags.

 

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World’s First Transgenic Dog Is A Fluorescent Puppy

World’s First Transgenic Dog Is Fluorescent Puppy

Ruppy the transgenic puppy at 10 days old under ultraviolet light 

A cloned beagle named Ruppy – short for Ruby Puppy – is the world’s first transgenic dog. She and four other beagles all produce a fluorescent protein that glows red under ultraviolet light. (Pics)

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Tobacco Plants Genetically Modified To Produce Medicine

Tobacco Plants Genetically Modified To Produce Medicine

Genetically modified tobacco plant 

Tobacco isn’t famous for its health benefits. But now scientists have succeeded in using genetically modified tobacco plants to produce medicines for several autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, including diabetes. The research is published in the open access journal BMC Biotechnology.

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