Scientists in China have created a new kind of monkey using human brain gene. scientists from China’s Kunming Institute of Zoology and the Academy of Sciences, together with US researchers at the University of North Carolina have successfully done the experiments.
The Chinese research team added a human gene called microcephalin or MCPH1 to the embryos of 11 rhesus monkeys, but six of them died before any tests could be performed. The remaining 5 went through a series of tests, including MRI brain scans and memory tests.
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. Each monkey has between two to nine copies of the human gene in their bodies.
“This was the first attempt to understand the evolution of human cognition using a transgenic monkey model,” said Bing Su, a geneticist at Kunming Institute of Zoology.
According to the researchers, the experiments represent the first attempt to study the genetic basis of human brain origin using transgenic monkeys.