This week, Japanese researchers are reporting the passing of a transgene from a primate to its offspring for the first time in a laboratory setting. David Cyranoski writes in the journal Nature that the scientists, who gave marmosets a gene that made their feet glow green, have observed that one of the monkeys has passed it along to its offspring. This is the first time in history that genes introduced to a species via medical means have been inherited by the test subject’s progeny. The event is being heralded as “a milestone that should make it easier to produce animals with versions of human disease for medical research.”
Of course, as a researcher of a variety of alleged cryptozoological wonders, this story reminds me of a term I’ve thrown around in various Fortean circles for years now. Indeed, these little Marmosets must be the closest I’ve come to seeing what I’ve always referred to as a “Fire Monkey”.
Fire Monkeys are a bit of a meme I helped create, born during a succession of live broadcasts of my buddy Joshua Warren’s radio program, Speaking of Strange (for which I am both executive producer and occasionally a guest fill-in host). My brother had initially joked about Fire Monkeys within the context of an imaginary cryptid that he said “tormented hillbillies”, especially mechanics, while working in wooded areas on hot summer afternoons in the Americanby