mouse embryo

5

[If you think this little guy [picture of an embryo] gets to supersede the right for any of these people who might become pregnant picture of an adult white woman, a teenage white girl, an asian woman, a black woman, and a trans man] To access the medical care that they deem the most appropriate for them, including abortions Regardless of- Why they want an abortion, How they got pregnant, How and if they were using contraception, How old they are, If they were raped or not, If they are in a relationship or not, Whether or not it is medically safe for them to carry a pregnancy to term, Whether or not they can financially afford to carry a pregnancy to term, How it would impact their lives, future, and/or safety; then you should probably know- this little guy [picture of the emryo] is a mouse embryo at 12 days from conception. But honestly, it doesn’t matter.Because even a human fetus does not get to strip people of their right to bodily autonomy. You don’t get to steal people’s kidneys to save someone else’s life.You don’t get to commandeer people’s uteruses to ensure a life is brought into the world. Keep your fingers, your opinions, and your laws out of other people’s internal organs. Let the people who are pregnant worry about their own pregnancy. ]

Scientists are one step closer to understanding the genetic difference between human and chimpanzee brain development. They isolated a stretch of DNA, once thought to be “junk”, near a gene that regulates brain development. Then they added that DNA – either the human or the chimp version – to mouse embryos. Lo and behold, the mouse brains with human DNA were 12% bigger than mouse brains with chimpanzee DNA.

Eventually, work like this could generate a list of DNA sequences that give a brain some capabilities that are characteristically human. That could be important for understanding what goes wrong in diseases of the brain.

As for the ethics of such experiments:

An experiment like this recent one is not going to create mice that talk and think like people. But it could be more ethically worrisome to try to genetically enhance the brains of nonhuman primates or other reasonably intelligent animals — like pigs.

Full story, from Nell Greenfieldboyce, here.

Image: Silver Lab/Duke University