January 31, 2014
Genetically Engineered Monkeys In China

Check out this article in Nature: First monkeys with customized mutations born. How cool is that? How soon till the uplift wars over whether monkeys or orangutans should be made highly intelligent? (I think creating effective biological competitors is a bad idea btw)

The scientists used a fairly recently developed system for genetic alteration called CRISPER-Cas9. If you are so inclined and have enough money you can buy CRISPER-Cas9 genome editing tools CRISPER-Cas9 is being used to tweak human cells in culture for a variety of purposes including the study of genes that confer resistance of cancer cells against chemotherapy agents. In a few weeks scientists can create mammalian cells with precisely altered DNA.

Since the medical regulations around human genetic engineering (at least in Western countries) is much stricter than regulations around twiddling genes in other species it seems reasonable to expect cognitive genetic engineering in primates and other mammals before it is done in humans. I expect we will see cognitive genetic engineering in dogs or monkeys in 10 years if not sooner. Some of it will be done to study mental illnesses.

Update: See a diagram of how CRISPER-Cas9 genome editing works. This technique is going to become heavily used.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2014 January 31 11:25 PM 


Comments
Puzzle Pirate (@PuzzlePirate) said at February 1, 2014 8:19 AM:

"Since the medical regulations around human genetic engineering (at least in Western countries) is much stricter than regulations around twiddling genes in other species it seems reasonable to expect cognitive genetic engineering in primates and other mammals before it is done in humans."

I think animal experimentation for this would be safer anyhow. Better to find out you got it wrong with a monkey than a human baby.

Brett Bellmore said at February 1, 2014 2:21 PM:

The problem there, i that monkeys aren't humans. Substantially closer to human than mice, I grant you, but some of the areas where we differ are exactly where we'd want to reengineer humans: Intelligence, longevity.

Doing work on monkeys first will lower the risk of the first experiments on humans, but certainly won't eliminate it.

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