Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (in Leipzeig, Germany – the German city that hosted the first psychology laboratory) have inserted a human gene, FOXP2, into mice. This gene is thought to be one of the components that give humans the ability to speak. The gene insertion has altered the way mice communicate – their utlrasonic whistles are lower in pitch now.
What are the implications? What will this unleash? As the novelist and screen writer Mark Leyner explains in this NY Times Op Ed piece, “we’re talking about a rat that’ll be able to sit down, look you in the eye and talk about the Sotomayor nomination or the Lakers-Magic series.”
This tearing down of the inter-animal communication wall will have more implications than the changing of Disney movie themes. My aggressively vegetarian daughter may win all of her arguments and I will have to start eating those things she prescribes. Heaven forbid…