Science makes monkeys racist

mowgli_balooIf you’ve ever watched a Disney cartoon movie, you know that monkeys are a gentle and fun-loving breed of animal. Sometimes they wear funny banana skirts and sing songs!

They are also tolerant animals by nature, caring for other animals of all species and color — whether shepherding Mowgli through his jungle-bound adolescence or, um, shepherding Simba through his jungle-bound adolescence. Or that little monkey that let Aladdin have sex with it (note: I may have only seen the German version of this movie).

The point is that while monkeys are smelly and stupid, they are also immune to the prejudices that infect us humans.

Until now, that is, thanks to the capricious whims of science, which decided to rob monkeys of their color-blindness:

A team of researchers led by Dr. Jay Neitz at the University of Washington set out to see if it’s possible to cure red-green color blindness in adults. Even if the eyes could be altered to detect another color, it was unclear whether the adult brain would be able to perceive the new wavelengths.

The researchers used squirrel monkeys as a model. The genes causing red-green color blindness, in both people and monkeys, are on the X chromosome, one of the 2 sex chromosomes. Males have only one X chromosome, so one altered copy of the gene can cause the condition, accounting for higher rates in males. Male squirrel monkeys have it even worse than human males: while 1 in 12 men are unable to distinguish between certain colors, all male squirrel monkeys are red-green color blind.

The scientists say their experiments could lead to gene therapy that could cure a number of different eye conditions in humans. Especially humans like me, who suffer from red-green color-blindness. I CAN’T SEE CHRISTMAS! I’m sooooo sad and mopey. I feel like Lucy the Dog. Will NOTHING cheer me up?

full_menagerie

HOORAY!!!

Gene Therapy Corrects Monkey Color Blindness [NIH]

(Hat Tip: Perry Ellis)

3 Comments

Filed under science

3 responses to “Science makes monkeys racist

  1. Yes, the blond chick is back.

  2. Perry Ellis

    +10 million awesomeness points. And an extra 70 billion for the gooseface to Eeyore, I mean Lucy.

  3. i changed my mind. i just want the blond beer holding girl.

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