View Full Version : Mouse to have human brain

03-07-2005, 06:42 AM
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2005/03/06/1110044258297.html chrome://targetalert/content/skin/new.png (http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2005/03/06/1110044258297.html)


Edit: In case it's a subscription site (not sure):

Mouse will have brain of human
It will look like any ordinary mouse, but for US scientists a tiny animal threatens to ignite a profound ethical dilemma. In one of the most controversial scientific projects conceived, a group of university researchers in California's Silicon Valley is preparing to create a mouse whose brain will be composed entirely of human cells.

Researchers at Stanford University have already succeeded in breeding mice with brains that are 1 per cent human cells. In the next stage they plan to use stem cells from aborted human foetuses to create an animal whose brain cells are 100 per cent human.

Professor Irving Weissman, who heads the university's Institute of Cancer/Stem Cell Biology, believes the mice could produce a breakthrough in understanding how stem cells might lead to a cure for diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

The group is waiting for a key US Government sponsored report, due this month, that will decide how much science can blur the distinction between man and beast.

Stanford's ethics committee has already approved the research, under certain conditions.
The head of the ethics committee, Professor Henry Greely, said: "If the mouse shows human-like behaviours, like improved memory or problem-solving, it's time to stop."

Professor Weissman said that there was no way of knowing whether the "human mice" would develop any human characteristics until after they were born.

03-07-2005, 07:10 AM
Douglas Adams would be proud:

In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the characters visit the legendary planet Magrathea, home of the now-collapsed planet building industry, and meet Slartibartfast, a planetary architect. He relates the story of a race of hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings who built a computer named Deep Thought to calculate the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. When the answer was revealed as 42, they were forced to build a more powerful computer to work out what the Ultimate Question actually was, but their plans never come to fruition.

The computer, disguised as a planet, was the Earth, and was destroyed five minutes before the conclusion of its 10-million-year program. The creatures, who turn out to be mice, want to dissect Arthur's brain to help reconstruct the question, but our protagonists escape.

Maybe we should let them breed and then they could build this computer for us and we would know everything!

03-07-2005, 07:23 AM
Maybe we should let them breed and then they could build this computer for us and we would know everything!

That's where the Mac came from.

03-09-2005, 12:24 PM
It's not like the mouse will be any more intelligent is it? A neuron is just a neuron - regardless of the DNA inside it.

03-09-2005, 02:26 PM
When I first read this thread's title I thought the subject was a cursor-mouse.

Pretty interesting. But those poor animals!!?!?!

03-09-2005, 02:36 PM
I just saw him walk by : I took a picture of it this is him :


03-09-2005, 06:01 PM
I just want to say, I genuinely think this is the coolest thing ever. I am not religious or spiritual, and therefore I'm all for cloning and all of those weird experiments.

03-09-2005, 06:07 PM
Hmm...smart mice.....that could be interesting. I wonder if they'd actually have greater capacity to learn though or that it would even do anything? I mean, is it just the fact that we humans have "human brains" made up of human brain cells that makes us smart?

03-09-2005, 06:24 PM
What makes us smart is how our neurons are connected with each other. Each neuron sort of acts like a plate on a capacitor, and between these plates a small electrical potential is produced which transmits a signal (although between capacitors there is either empty space or a material which helps send the signal along, whereas in the brain it's a fluid called a neurotransmitter). The point is, just because the mouse brain is made of human cells, doesn't mean that the mouse will be any smarter. All a single neuron does is just help send a signal along, but it takes billions of years of evolution to generate the correct neural connections which are akin to intelligence.

Zach L.
03-09-2005, 06:33 PM
Pinky & The Brain

Shall we take bets on which they succeed in making? :)

03-09-2005, 06:37 PM
I just hope the rats don't die a day after they're born, which is likely.

03-10-2005, 09:55 AM
yes..otherwise it would be useless anyway.
I'm for cloning too for the same reson as for Darkness.
I've got rats as pets ,,. would be cool if they have brains , it could help me with homework.
although , I don;t think it's handy to give human brains to a mouse , for the reson they just live two years : more of those crieing babys I can't take:P monkeys would be better , bu5t its a start:)
and hey , they can clone me , who doesn;t want an Alexander of its her eh :P..:D:D:P

03-10-2005, 10:15 AM
Found this article funny:

LONDON, March 9 (Reuters) - Japanese scientists said on Wednesday they have discovered a protein on sperm that is essential to fertilise eggs.

The protein, which they named Izumo after a Japanese shrine dedicated to marriage, could lead to improvements in contraceptives and fertility techniques.

"The finding not only provides insight into the enigmatic fusion mechanism but also promises benefits in the clinical treatment of infertility and the potential development of new contraceptive strategies," said Masaru Okabe of Osaka University in Japan in the science journal Nature.

Before sperm can fertilise a female egg it must pass through an outer layer of the egg, then interact with the inner coat surrounding it and bind to its plasma membrane.

The scientists bred genetically engineered mice which did not produce the protein and found the animals could not complete fertilisation.

The mice were healthy and produced sperm but they were sterile.

The search for Izumo began 18 years ago when the scientists found an antibody that recognised a molecule on sperm and inhibited fertilisation.

Human sperm also contains a counterpart of Izumo. When the scientists used the antibody in laboratory experiments, they found that it blocked frozen human sperm from fusing with hamster eggs -- a test for male fertility.

Richard Schultz and Carmen Williams at the University of Pennsylvania in the United States described the research in a commentary as compelling.

"These findings raise the exciting possibility that, because Izumo is sperm-specific and extracellular, this protein and its interacting partners could be new targets for non-hormonal contraception," they wrote.

When doing experiments you always have a control group right? I suppose that control group in this case would be no antibody used to prevent the fusing of human sperm with hamster eggs. So I suppose somewhere there is a petri dish of fused human/hamster DNA? They are trying to create a mutant race of human/hamster hybrids to rule the world! Would they be called humsters, or hamans? :D

03-10-2005, 11:55 AM
So the appropriate question becomes: "Are you a man, or a mouse?"

It is kind of scary how far reaching these experiments can become. It's one thing to use the discoveries for the benefit of mankind (cures for diseases, infertility, etc.) but just think of what a group like Al-Qeida (sp?) would do with this kind of knowledge... Alas, the world will never be perfect, but I would rather see these advances made (even if most of the benefits won't be found or useful until long after I die) rather than "Don't drive the car because someone might wreck into you!"

03-10-2005, 12:31 PM
Well, a mouse in captivity usually lives to be about 5 years old. A so heavily modified mouse - I somehow doubt they'll keep it alive long enough to get results.

03-10-2005, 01:25 PM
but just think of what a group like Al-Qeida (sp?) would do with this kind of knowledge...

In my opinion your another one of those "American pple that thinks Bush is always right and hes THE leader in the WAR v.s the ashes of evil, oh and I love america , and I am an AMERICAN citicen and that makes me better than the rest of the world and , oh , who doesn't want to live her , its perfect her ! ooh AMERICA < YEA < ME LOVE AMERICA < AND BUSH ! he IS our leader , and you probably voted for him the lastest votings in the us , well THE WORLD THANKS YOU FOR THAT ! " ........

another 4 years with this freak , now hes got his eyes on , whats it ? Libanon , North karea , some other country too ? You know , I don't think so so called terrorists are so bad but :


to all you Americans : give me bad reputation : I don't care . its time you start relising what your doing to the world , and youselfs ( ohh , your selfs , you ego orientated pple understand that , don't let me suffer I'm a ...yes thats it ! American human , you knwo the superiour citizen to the rest of the world. )

-MystWind :mad:

03-10-2005, 01:26 PM
dunno what was wrong with me ... sorry jessica , this post wasn't really towards you , but just how I think 9 without swearing ) of Bush and his superior followers from America

03-10-2005, 01:33 PM
There have been people with the brains of mice for years, I don't see what the problem is...

03-10-2005, 01:36 PM
There have been people with the brains of mice for years, I don't see what the problem is...


03-10-2005, 03:09 PM
Myst, I sincerely hope you are joking. This is a thread about mice, and you've turned it political.

Zach L.
03-10-2005, 05:16 PM
Now... Just imagine what'd happen if the Elbonians got their hands on this stuff...


03-10-2005, 05:34 PM
It's one thing to use the discoveries for the benefit of mankind (cures for diseases, infertility, etc.) but just think of what a group like Al-Qeida (sp?) would do with this kind of knowledge...


This isn't political, it's science and personal belief. Keep it that way.

03-10-2005, 05:39 PM
Now... Just imagine what'd happen if the Elbonians got their hands on this stuff...

They might actually be able to have brains? :P

It's not like they live long anyway with people falling on them to cushion their fall.