Scientists have succeeded in creating smarter monkeys by using a human gene to make their brains more human-like. At the heart of the controversial study published recently in the Beijing-based National Science Review, is the human gene MCPH1, which is linked to brain growth.
Researchers from China and America were able to create several transgenic rhesus monkeys carrying human copies of MCPH1 by injecting viruses carrying the gene into monkey embryos, Medical Xpress noted.
The monkeys were later tested in order to establish the impact the human gene had on the brain development and scientists found that, while the monkey's brains were not larger than normal, they had improved memory and were able to better process certain abilities.
Scientist are hoping the transgenic monkeys could help provide insights into neurodegenerative and social behavior disorders, China Daily noted.
Scientists have previously been able to create transgenic monkeys carrying a human gene related to autism in an effort to better understand the complex brain disorder. The researchers in China inserted the gene MeCP2 in the genome of macaques, which resulted in the monkeys displaying autism-like behaviors. According to The Verge, some of the symptoms included anxiety, repetitive movements, and decreased social interaction.