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.

Continue reading… “Chinese scientists have put human brain genes in monkeys—and yes, they may be smarter”

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.

 

 

Continue reading… “Transgenics – next wave of genetically modified crops could ease concerns over ‘Frankenfoods’”

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