Work on tamed lions is going on clandestinely and if it succeeds, the big cats will besimply herbivorous or small carnivores.By Syed Akbar
Super intelligent monkeys and tamed lions will become a reality soon, if
scientists working on genetic engineering have they say.
Experts in stem cell technology and genetic engineering believe that the
day is not far off when the Earth will be populated by monkeys with human
brains and lions that simply meow without harming others.
Scientists are now looking beyond genes and genetic engineering.
But if this is misused, there could be animals who could compete with
human beings. Unscrupulous scientists may develop monkeys with human
brains or humanlike monkeys.
Nobel laureate Dr Roger Kornberg says monkeys with human intelligence has
almost become a reality but such creations will lead to debate on human
ethics. There are two sides of genetic engineering and stem cell
technology. Good and bad. Use of the technology for therapeutic uses will
result in saving the lives of millions. But a small misuse of the facility
will lead to ethical issues, he pointed out.
Whats all about this conceptualized human-monkey? Its nothing but a
reversal of the Darwins theory which believes that human beings have
evolved from monkeys. If the researchers have their say, there will
monkeys evolving virtually from the modern man. This can be achieved by
injecting human brain cells into monkey brains or through transplantation
of embryonic stem cells of a human embryo into the womb of a monkey. As
the stem cells grow in the womb of a monkey, the resultant offspring will
be a monkey with human intelligence, the scientists hope.
The concept of super monkeys gains significance in the backdrop of
creation of genetically-engineered cats, by Korean scientists, which glow
in the dark. The scientists have also created rats that have no fear
genes in them and can roam freely in front of a cat. Work on tamed
lions is going on clandestinely and if it succeeds, the big cats will be
simply herbivorous or small carnivores.
While it is quite easier to create super monkeys with human qualities,
the major ethical problem that crops up before society is should such
creatures be considered human subjects or simply intelligent animals,
he argues. If such creatures are considered human subjects then they will
have to be protected by ethical guidelines that govern research on human
And more importantly, when a monkey turns human will it be subjected to
all legal rules. If yes, can it sue the rogue scientists who created it
through unethical genetic engineering?