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How to Motivate Your Monkey

Our September issue reports the discontinuation of the human trials Avigen was conducting on a new hemophilia treatment–the latest of many setbacks in the commercialization of gene therapy. But basic research in the field has continued undaunted, with results that…
August 12, 2004

Our September issue reports the discontinuation of the human trials Avigen was conducting on a new hemophilia treatment–the latest of many setbacks in the commercialization of gene therapy. But basic research in the field has continued undaunted, with results that may strike you as either astounding or terrifying, depending on how you feel about the prospect of genetically modifying your personality.

Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health have used gene therapy to “cure” monkeys of their tendency to procrastinate. Similar treatments could eventually benefit people suffering from depression, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder; but they could also take the debate about the “medicalization” of psychological characteristics into a whole new arena.

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