The smart mouse with the half-human brain – New Scientist

3 12 2014

I’ve written this before, I’ll write it again now:

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should!

So now they’ve managed to successfully inject human brain bits into mice. Guess what? Just like whole humans, human brain bits generally took over their environment and displaced the existing mouse brain bits. Result? “Smarter” mice. (All things are relative). These humanised mice have memories that are improved by four times.

Yegods… have these scientists never read Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake? She makes a big deal of the stance that her books are not science fiction, but rather speculative fiction. She says everything in the trilogy could very easily happen because all the underlying mechanisms are already in place. One storyline involves implanting human brain tissue into pigs. Result? Pigs that can outsmart humans to deadly effect. Now imagine that in an animal that can breed as prodigiously as a mouse. They’ve got a lot of mouse traps to get revenge for! And just think how smart Jerry already was, when pitted against Tom!

I’m terrified…

The smart mouse with the half-human brain – health – 01 December 2014 – New Scientist.





2 responses

4 12 2014
David A Lockwood

I’m inclined to agree with you on this – I notice that they ‘decided not to try putting human cells into monkeys’ but someone will !!!
The usual dilemma, does the end justify the means because it could provide a cure for some rather cruel human ailments?
The mis-quote by Oppenheimer is probably appropriate in this case “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.”

4 12 2014
Quieter Elephant

Hey David, you’re right of course – the vast majority of research is done in the pursuit of raw non-specific knowledge or the pursuit of an improvement into the lot of mankind. Clever, devious folk that we are though… we often find other ways to use the newly discovered knowledge.

Did you know Bayer trademarked their new “improved” form of morphine? It was the hero drug, so they called it Heroin. No surprise that they didn’t defend that name, once its side-effects became more well known.

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