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For the first time, a team of Chinese scientists made use of gene-editing techniques to make monkey brains (bộ não của khỉ) more human-like. By the end, the monkeys, rhesus macaques, got smarter and had superior memories as compared to the unaltered (không thay đổi) monkeys.
Researchers edited the human version of a gene known as ‘MCPH1’ into the macaques (khỉ). The gene made the monkeys’ brain develop along a more human-like timeline. The gene-hacked monkeys showed better reaction times and improved short-term memories in comparison to their unaltered peers,
The team successfully created 11 transgenic (biến đổi gen) rhesus (khỉ nâu) monkeys carrying human copies of MCPH1. They said that a transgenic monkey model is practical and to a large extent can imitate (bắt chước) the human-specific status.
However, few scientists also raised concerns regarding the technique, some even calling it ‘reckless’ (liều lĩnh). Geneticist (nhà di truyền học) James Sikela told the MIT Technology Review, “The use of transgenic monkeys to study human genes linked to brain evolution (phát triển não bộ) is a very risky road to take. It is a classic slippery slope issue and one that we can expect to recur as this type of research is pursued.”