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Scientists Want To Create Human-Monkey Chimeras For “Research”

The monkeys in Douglas Munoz’s Kingston lab look like other monkeys. The only thing separating the macaques from their unaltered lab mates is the elevated level of a specific human protein implanted inside their brains, proteins that accumulate in the brains of humans with Alzheimer’s disease.

Munoz, Canada Research Chair in neuroscience at Queen’s University, has reported his work using brain molecules. Others are implanting monkeys with fragments of human brain tissue extracted from people who died with Alzheimer’s.

Now, however, some are going further, and proposing the creation of human-monkey chimeras — part-human beings with entire portions of the brain, like, say, the hippocampus, entirely human derived.

For Munoz, the idea of biologically humanizing large portions of a monkey’s brain is  seriously unnerving. “To be honest, it just really ethically scares me,” he said.

In April, Chinese researchers announced they had inserted  a human brain gene into monkey embryos, a gene critical for human brain development. “This is an important step,” says Feng Zhang, a synthetic biologist who was not involved in the study, but who has helped to develop CRISPR technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. “It shows that the system is working.”

The race is already on to create more CRISPR-modified monkeys, and with greater reliability. Zhang and his colleagues are working to optimize the technology for primate cells, in order to boost mutation efficiency.

The feat was applauded by some researchers who said it would help them to recreate devastating human diseases in monkeys, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The ability to alter DNA with such precision is already being investigated as a way to make people resistant to HIV.

But the breakthrough is controversial, with groups opposed to animal testing warning that it could drive a rise in the use of monkeys in research. One critic said that genetic engineering gave researchers “almost limitless power to create sick animals”.

Chimeras were once only monsters out of Greek mythology. Today, stem-cell technologies and gene-editing tools like CRISPR may make the generation of these once fantastical creatures possible.

In fact, scientists are already using “xenotransplantation” techniques to create human-pig chimeras, in the hope of one day generating human organs for transplant.

Darwinists Wants Us to Create ‘Humanzee’

A new movement headed by Professor David Barash to prove evolution by breeding humans with our claimed closest relative, the chimpanzee has gained credence. A core teaching of Neo-Darwinism is that humans are simply another animal produced by evolution.

Barash believes that breeding chimps and humans “would be a terrific idea” for many reasons including to quell what he calls the most harmful “theologically-driven myth of all times: that human beings are discontinuous from the rest of the natural world, … specially created and endowed with souls, whereas ‘they’—all other creatures—were not.” 

Barish isn’t the only Darwinist who seeks to tear us down in this manner. Richard Dawkins has pushed the same noxious idea, as has the transhumanist bioethicist, James Hughes — and for the same ridiculous reason: Destroying religious faith.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Genesis 1:26

David P. Barash is not a fringe scientist, but a leading researcher and science popularizer. As a Professor of Psychology emeritus at the University of Washington, he has written, edited or co-authored 40 books, and over 230 scholarly articles, mostly on Darwin and Darwinism. He is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Efforts to Breed Humans and Chimps in the Past

It’s not the first time human-ape breeding experiments have been attempted. The first scientific attempt was in the mid-1920s at a laboratory, then part of French Guinea in Africa. The work was done by a leading Soviet Scientist, Professor Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov, and his son.

Ivanov attempted at least three times, without success, to inseminate female chimpanzees with human sperm. He also attempted a set of experiments involving ape sperm and humans, but was unsuccessful for several reasons. Ivanov used Negro women because they were in his day believed to be biologically closer to apes, thus, he reasoned, the experiment would more likely be successful. His belief was based on the writings of Darwin and others.

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Your Status Updates Could Predict A Whole Range Of Health Conditions

Language in Facebook posts may be able to predict whether someone will develop diabetes and other conditions including depression, anxiety, alcohol abuse, sexually-transmitted diseases, and drug abuse better than demographic information like age, sex, and race.

Using an automated data collection technique, the researchers from University of Pennsylvania and Stony Brook University in the US analysed the entire Facebook post history of nearly 1,000 patients who agreed to have their electronic medical record data linked to their profiles. 

People who often use the words “God” and “pray” in their Facebook posts are 15 times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than people who rarely use those terms on the platform, the new study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine finds.

Looking into 21 different conditions, researchers found that all 21 were predictable from Facebook alone. In fact, 10 of the conditions were better predicted through the use Facebook data instead of demographic information. 

“This work is early, but our hope is that the insights gleaned from these posts could be used to better inform patients and providers about their health,” said Raina Merchant, an associate professor at University of Pennsylvania. 

The study doesn’t show exactly why “God” and “pray” were linked to diabetes.

However, a 2011 study from Northwestern University found that those who begin regularly attending religious services while young are more likely to become obese by the middle of their lives. Some of the Facebook data also showed that the words, “drink” and “bottle” were more predictive of alcohol abuse.

Additionally, words expressing hostility — like “dumb” and some expletives — served as indicators of drug abuse and psychoses. 

“Our digital language captures powerful aspects of our lives that are likely quite different from what is captured through traditional medical data,” said Andrew Schwartz, an assistant professor at Stony Brook University. 

Merchant is hopeful that social-media posts could one day help doctors diagnose diseases like diabetes early or prevent them altogether, but there’s still more research to do before your doctor begins analyzing your status updates. Merchant plans to conduct a large study later this year that shares social-media information directly with health providers.

For those worried about privacy in the latest report, Merchant says it’s a top priority. “We made it very easy for patients to decide they no longer wanted to participate anymore, and we didn’t look at any data from their friends. This would be an opt-in process, and privacy needs to be part of the conversation,” she said.