The Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology announced today that it has added the gene for human speech to a strain of mice and has successfully bred them. Live Science.
No, the mice haven't started speaking back to the researchers yet, but apparently it has changed the way mice communicate with each other.
The purpose of the experiments is to understand the roots of human speech and language.
Even as avowedly pro-technology as I am, what I feel right now is almost entirely negative-- sad, horrified, angry. I won't try (couldn't be able) to sort out the range of ethical issues to which my feelings attach at this moment.
If animals could communicate with humans, would we treat them differently? Or would we learn to ignore them, and would the world then be filled with their hopeless cries?
Pound dogs facing the death chamber: "Please, I'll be a good boy, I promise, I promise!"
Deer after being shot: "Why? Why did you do it? And what will become of my daughter?"
Cattle on their way to the slaughterhouse: "No, I don't want to die!! Please, please!!
Photo from Sergey Yeliseev's photostream at Flickr.