Yes, But Do They Have Anything To Say


Dr. Wolfgang Enard, head of a team of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, announced that genetically engineered mice who have had their FOXP2 gene swapped out for a human one (this gene is believed to play an important role in language) “speak” differently than mice with the regular gene.

In a region of the brain called the basal ganglia, known in people to be involved in language, the humanized mice grew nerve cells that had a more complex structure. Baby mice utter ultrasonic whistles when removed from their mothers. The humanized baby mice, when isolated, made whistles that had a slightly lower pitch, among other differences, Dr. Enard says.

Are these the human/animal hybrids President Bush was warning us about back in 2006? Truly terrifying.

Brian Spears is Senior Poetry Editor of The Rumpus and the author of A Witness in Exile (Louisiana Literature Press, 2011). His poem “Upon Reading That Andromeda Will One Day Devour Triangulum and Come For Us Next” was featured in Season 9 of Motion Poems. More from this author →