Monkey Business

A tiny primate with a gene from a jellyfish raises scientists' hopes--and some serious ethical questions

At the end of an inconspicuous two-lane road near the city of Beaverton, Ore., a cluster of modest concrete-and-glass buildings nestles amid ponds, fields and magnificent groves of evergreens--an oasis of natural beauty standing firm against the encroaching suburbs. Only a pair of football-field-size enclosures surrounded by 9-ft.-high sheet-metal walls and monitored from a watchtower give the hint that this is something more than just an unusually idyllic office park. The huge pens suggest a dinosaur paddock from Jurassic Park--an image reinforced when whatever is inside inexplicably starts slamming violently against the metal walls.

But while the creatures housed at...

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