When a bunch of mice had inserted in their system the “human language gene”, they were observed to have increased cognitive abilities. When they were made to find food in a maze-like setting, they performed better than normal mice without the added gene.
The human brain has wonders of its own, the faculties of which have made of us the temporary rulers over our environment, including the other living organisms forming part of it. No computer, however sophisticated, can even come close to the human mind, as is said – we cannot reproduce the human brain, can we? However, researchers of a new study have attempted to move in a similar direction: they have inserted a human brain gene into a group of mice. Can the brilliance of the human mind be reproduced, on whatever scale, on the less-endowed creatures?
It was first observed that the mice with the new gene – the Foxp2, a human gene linked with language – were able to learn new ways to get to food (chocolate treat!) in a maze. Their performance was better than the normal mice with no added ‘super-power’ gene. This research work has aimed to build up on another one done in the past. Some years back, another study showed that mice having been incorporated with the human Foxp2 gene grew more complex neurones and brain circuits that delivered better. Mice with the human gene did do better than the normal ones. The researchers concluded from their observations that the added human gene provided an increase in cognitive flexibility by allowing the mice to exploit more ingenious ways of getting to the food.