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Biotech Medicine Science

Researchers Create First Genetically Modified Monkeys 134

Several readers tipped news that U.S. scientists have created 'chimeric' monkeys, made with genetic material from as many as six different genomes (abstract). This is significant because it's the first time researchers have used the technique on a primate. From the article: "Researchers took very early stem cells, called totipotent stem cells, from separate developing embryos and basically glued them together, implanting the mixed embryos into surrogate mother monkeys. The cells — from totally different sources — didn’t fuse, but worked together in harmony, forming fully fledged, normal, healthy animals. ... The key here was the scientists’ use of totipotent cells, so named for their ability to differentiate into the totality of possible cells in an animal. A totipotent cell can give rise to a whole animal. Pluripotent stem cells, the type most frequently used in stem cell research, can differentiate into any cell in the body, but can’t become a whole animal, and can’t make other embryonic tissues like a placenta. Totipotent stem cells are only derived from the very earliest stages of a zygote, mere days after fertilization. In humans, totipotent cells differentiate into pluripotent cells after four days."
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Researchers Create First Genetically Modified Monkeys

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  • by yog ( 19073 ) * on Friday January 06, 2012 @11:18AM (#38609862) Homepage Journal

    Let's set aside all religious and moral/ethical concerns and look at the practicalities. A chimp with near-human intelligence would be a tremendous asset to both the military and private economy. They are much stronger and faster than humans, so would be incredible soldiers. They can ALREADY use sign language to communicate with humans, so just imagine taking that a step further--being able to type or write messages, maybe able to mimic human spoken language.

    They would make great athletic coaches, especially for gymnastic training and the like. They would be good nannies and playmates for kids, and could defend the kids from nasty people even more effectively than could a dog.

    I guess that leads to the idea of chimeric dogs. Just imagine a dog smart enough to identify someone and testify against him in court. "Yes sir, that's the perpetrator. I can smell him a mile away."

  • by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Friday January 06, 2012 @12:23PM (#38610612)

    Chimps are unpredictable and extremely dangerous. Many people have been maimed or killed by their pet chimps.

    Yeah, under no circumstances google any picture of Charla Nash.

    (Now observe people doing exactly the thing I told them not to do...)

New systems generate new problems.