First Monkeys With Customized Mutations Born In China

First Monkeys With Customized Mutations Born In China

The Model Animal Research Center of Nanjing University in China has bred two monkeys with customized mutations, with one having its healthy immune system altered, while the other has its regulation of metabolism tweaked.

In China, the "Model Animal Research Center of Nanjing University" led by geneticist Xingxu Huang, has successfully engineered twin cynomolgus monkeys with two targeted mutations using the "CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing system. One of the mutations affect the regulation of metabolism (Ppar-γ), while the other affects the healthy immune function(Rag1).

Previous attempts to genetically modify primates relied on viral methods and while it created mutations efficiently, it did so at unpredictable locations and in uncontrollable numbers. For the new system, the breakthrough did not come easy. Huang and his team first tested it in a monkey cell line, with the scientists targeting each of the three genes with a 10-25% success rate. Encouraged by the results, the research team then subsequently targeted the three genes simultaneously in more than 180 single-celled monkey embryos. This resulted in 10 pregnancies from 83 embryos that were implanted, with only one birth that led to the pair of mutations in the two targeted genes.

Synthetic biologist, Feng Zhang, who was not involved with the study but did help develop the gene-editing system CRISPR tech at MIT, thinks "this is an important first step," and adds, "it shows the system is working." While the combined mutations do not represent specific disease syndromes, it is associated with human disorders. For now, the team has yet to fully analyze the monkeys' condition and more tests are needed to know whether the mutations occurred in all of the animals' cells. "Our first aim was to get it done, to get it to work," claims Huang, though the studies suggest that researchers could one day model other human conditions involving multiple mutations.

If the experiments prove successful in the long run, are we in for a future where specific health disorders can be modified genetically? Or maybe even alter the genetic makeup of babies to take out any hereditary genes that might cause problems once they grow up? It's certainly an interesting prospect -- though a little bit creepy, I admit.

Source: Nature via Gizmodo

Permalink

Artificial organs and muscles, human augmentation, successful genetic engineering on primates...

I guess scifi is becoming reality. What amazes me most is the rapid progress we made in the last few years. Back in the 90's, this stuff existed in comic books and cyberpunk movies at best. All we need now is a breakthrough in exoskeleton technology (a.k.a. power armor) and we can start breeding space marines. :D

I suddenly feel an urge to watch Rise of the Planet of the Apes...

Well, if mad scientists are looking for a location for their lab where no one will question the ethics of their experiments, I think they have found their top choice.

Still pretty awesome though.

Daaaah Whoosh:
I suddenly feel an urge to watch Rise of the Planet of the Apes...

That movie was terrible.

So...we introduce mutations and characteristics as we need to now? Good. I want to know exactly how many monkeys with an instinctive disposition towards the use of typewriters it takes to give me the complete works of Shakespeare. INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW!

As someone who has suffered quite a bit with genetically transmited disorders I'm absolutely amazed with this news.

ive been waiting for this day.. starts with the noble goal of curing human disease and eventually ends up on "improvements" to the human genome for rich parents who want a designer baby

wombat_of_war:
ive been waiting for this day.. starts with the noble goal of curing human disease and eventually ends up on "improvements" to the human genome for rich parents who want a designer baby

As long as it doesn't cost a whole lot, I want a functional tail. Either a reptile tail or a simian one. Regeneration or Goku, here I come!

OT: It's like reality is trying to imitate movies. Or sci fi, in this case. I remember a few years back they brought a dog back to life after it being dead for seven hours.

Daaaah Whoosh:
I suddenly feel an urge to watch Rise of the Planet of the Apes...

Why watch that, when we are effectively living the Rise of the Planet of Gattaca?

So... So after all these years I can finally have them.


Sweet.

I know some people would like a series discussion about what this means for genetic diseases, and the ethics of tampering with mutations like that...but all I can think of is whether the next stage of mutations involves giving them kung-fu powers.
image

C'mon, I can't be the only one wanting to see Drunken Monkey style being used by an actual drunken monkey

Pallindromemordnillap:
I know some people would like a series discussion about what this means for genetic diseases, and the ethics of tampering with mutations like that...but all I can think of is whether the next stage of mutations involves giving them kung-fu powers.
image

C'mon, I can't be the only one wanting to see Drunken Monkey style being used by an actual drunken monkey

I assume a ton of people would not be OK with this. But if it can eliminate recessive genes or diseases, it can be a real medical breakthrough. Although, knowing people, this will be used in some cosmetic manner.

But imagine the possibilities. Heightened immune systems, faster metabolisms for everyone, and other stuff would benefit humankind. Either this or replacing human parts with cybernetics might be our future.

If we can do this with monkeys now, maybe 20 years from now, we can look this to humans. When I think about where this technology can go, it makes me think about the opening of Fallout 3. Imagine 50 years ago looking at a little screen and modifying and customize our kids the way we want before they're born. What an insane idea. But, at the very least this whole think would make vaccines seem about as barbaric as using leeches for medicine.

It's gonna be a while before we start modifying newborn humans; it's gonna be an even bigger while before society starts to accept it.

This is the first step, though. We're beating natural selection at its own game. Human-controlled evolution. I'm just sad I won't be around to see the effects.

One step closer to SPACE MARRRRIIIIIINES! I bet it was the Emperor of Mankind who helped the Chinese achieve such a thing.

This is cool and all, but when am I gonna get my natural dark vision eyes already?

Think how much I would save on my energy bills!

And I want a prehensile tail. Come on science!!

Today, slightly mutated monkeys.

Tomorrow, wolverine healing factors.

The Day after that? I dunno, plasmids? Gene-Seed? Alex Mercer style shapeshifting powers?

It's fantastic news. I'd be a lot happier if it wasn't the PRC doing it. An authoritarian state with a horrible, and ongoing, record of human rights abuses one step closer to being able to genetically engineer humans. Lovely.

r_Chance:
It's fantastic news. I'd be a lot happier if it wasn't the PRC doing it. An authoritarian state with a horrible, and ongoing, record of human rights abuses one step closer to being able to genetically engineer humans. Lovely.

As horrifying as the premise is, this might be the only place in the world that both has a first/second world infrastructure to perform it and morals loose enough to ignore it. If it's going to be done anywhere, by any people, it's in this scenario.

I mean, obviously I'm already born and with an epidermic allergy to metals, I'll unlikely be a cybernetics patient. So. Meh. But it's very cool and sciencey!

This is lovely, i would love to see the sucess of this. maybe someday we will be able to modify our genetics to be immune to diseases and live a much healthier life (altering metabolism for example could solve the genetic tendency to be fat/slim problem)

Chaosritter:
Artificial organs and muscles, human augmentation, successful genetic engineering on primates...

I guess scifi is becoming reality. What amazes me most is the rapid progress we made in the last few years. Back in the 90's, this stuff existed in comic books and cyberpunk movies at best. All we need now is a breakthrough in exoskeleton technology (a.k.a. power armor) and we can start breeding space marines. :D

Breakthrough is partly because we have increased our computing power so isntead of stabbing in the dark we are now stabbing in the dark with a flashligth!
another thing i would attribute is exactly that it no longer IS in comic books. as in the society no longer associate it with monsters but instead realize the massive benefits of such possibilities.
I would love if we got this to actually work, but this 1 in 180 success rate (1 embryo of 180 was born with mutation, though granted only 10 of them got successful birth to begin with) is not that much promising. its a huge step to the right direction, but far from being able to create supersoldiers.

Alex Co:
But imagine the possibilities. Heightened immune systems, faster metabolisms for everyone, and other stuff would benefit humankind. Either this or replacing human parts with cybernetics might be our future.

i agree with the notion but faster metabolism may not be good for everyone. not yet anyway. faster metabolism does require more food, and while i can get fat siting on my ass whole day there are a lot of people who dont have enough food as it is. we should solve this first of all. though, we technically can, as there IS enough food produced in the world to feed whole world as it is, however the sad truth is the "Starving kids in africa" want freebies for nothing. We have them technology and knowledge and told them how they can make food, instead they just made more kids and cried to red cross. so we wont "fuck it we wont interfere do whatever you want" and let them starve.

Steve Waltz:
and modifying and customize our kids the way we want before they're born. What an insane wonderful idea.

fixed it for you.

Valderis:
This is cool and all, but when am I gonna get my natural dark vision eyes already?

you already do. Human eyes are a hell of an adaptive given enough time spent in the dark. granted, they may not last very long, but considering we normally lived less than 30 years this wasnt an issue for evolution and its not fast enough to catch up with our technology.

r_Chance:
It's fantastic news. I'd be a lot happier if it wasn't the PRC doing it. An authoritarian state with a horrible, and ongoing, record of human rights abuses one step closer to being able to genetically engineer humans. Lovely.

well, then, we should make sure those pesky "Taboo morals" get out of the window faster so we can do it too. because "its ammoral" and "not how god intended" is whats holding the rest of the world back. heck, it took Obama to even allow stem cell research.

Strazdas:

r_Chance:
It's fantastic news. I'd be a lot happier if it wasn't the PRC doing it. An authoritarian state with a horrible, and ongoing, record of human rights abuses one step closer to being able to genetically engineer humans. Lovely.

well, then, we should make sure those pesky "Taboo morals" get out of the window faster so we can do it too. because "its ammoral" and "not how god intended" is whats holding the rest of the world back. heck, it took Obama to even allow stem cell research.

I have always said what can be done will be done. Which doesn't make it a good idea. I can really see tremendous good coming out of genetics. In the hands of an amoral authoritarian regime like the PRC, I can see tremendous evil coming out of it. A two edged sword like many technological advances. Interesting times.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here