Posted: Friday, November 20, 2020. 2:29 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Reminiscent of the 2011 film, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” Japanese and German researchers used a gene which directs stem cells in the human brain to genetically alter those of marmoset fetuses, according to the New York Post.
The study found that the brains of the primates injected with ARHGAP11B “became more human-like by developing larger, more advanced neocortexes — the area that controls cognition and language,” according to the study published in the journal Science in June. According to images released by the researchers, the modified monkey brains nearly doubled in size at around 100 days into gestation.
Ultimately, however, scientists opted to abort the monkey fetuses due to “unforeseeable consequences.”
Nevertheless, study author Michael Heide said their hypothesis was proven: “We found indeed that the neocortex of the common marmoset brain was enlarged and the brain surface folded…”
The neocortex is the newest part of the brain to evolve — one sign that ARHGAP11B may have caused brain growth during human evolution, the researchers said.
The study was conducted by the Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Germany and the Central Institute for Experimental Animals in Japan
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