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China Genetically Engineering Monkeys to be More Human

When a Chinese scientist known as JK genetically engineered two children a bit ago, outrage was (temporarily) expressed. “The scientists” wrung their hands about the ethics of it all — but I suspect it’s all a con. They weren’t upset about what was done, but when, that is, before the public had been sufficiently anesthetized.

The Chinese government reacted to the world’s (transitory) outrage by arresting JK, claiming he was a rogue actor. Are you kidding me? China is the most technologically sophisticated tyranny the world has ever seen. Nothing that important happens there without somebody in high places knowing about it.

Now, Chinese scientists have genetically engineered a monkey to make it more human. From the MIT Technology Review:

“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.

According to their findings, the modified monkeys did better on a memory test involving colors and block pictures, and their brains also took longer to develop—as those of human children do. There wasn’t a difference in brain size.

Swell. A few years ago we were promised experiments that would effect the brain would never be done in mice. They were right. It was done in monkeys!

My friend, the bioethicist William Hurlbut has often worried about “outsourcing ethics,” that is, Western scientists and funders cooperating with experiments in countries with an “anything goes” approach, allowing them to participate in research considered unethical in their own countries while remaining in good odor among their peers.

Read more at National Review. 

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