Questions about biology, genes, humans and apes, courtesy of the movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes. SPOILERS WITHIN.
In the movie, a genetic virus is created to help Alhemizer patients, which seems to work well in one human, with the caveat that it's not permanent, i.e. constant treatments are needed. Eventually the human body in one host develops anti virus to that virus, plunging the human back into Alzheimer's.
When this virus is applied to chimpanzees, it increases their intelligence. It also passes down that intelligence to its children.
In time, the virus is perfected so that it can be delivered in the air, i.e. the one smart chimp (Caesar)gets ahold of several containers with the gas that produces the smart virus, releases it in an animal refuge for apes, chimps, gorillas and orangutans, thus building a smart army of apes overnight.
Eventually it's discovered the virus is lethal in many humans, killing them off, while producing only positive side effects in other members of the Hominidae
How plausible is all of this, considering that apes are genetically close to humans. Obviously there's huge Hollywood license, but how much? Specifically:
1. The initial man made virus was designed to cure Alhemizer's and was being tested on chimps. It increased the intelligence and memory of a particular chimpanzee (Bright Eyes, Caesar's mother), but her offspring was hugely more intelligent, clearly on the level of humans. Is that possible, the huge increase of the effect of the virus on offspring? Is that a one time effect or would it increase with every generation?
2. Turning the virus into a gaseous form, which produces almost instant results in changing the intelligence of the apes, possible? I'm assuming it's not as we currently understand biology.
3. Not sure if the movie mentioned specifics, but what would the smart virus be manipulating to produce an increase in intelligence on the apes? Would it be changing the genetic structure or specific parts/pathways in an non human ape's brain?
4. How realistic is it that the virus kills off most humans, while making non human apes smarter? Wouldn't the virus do the same to all members of the Homindae family, especially since it wasn't designed to only target specific sub classes of that genus?
5. Eventually, it's discovered that Caesar can talk. Apes lack certain physical elements that prohibit them from speaking as humans do, correct? Obviously they can learn some language, i.e. sign, but vocally producing words is beyond their physical ability as I understand it. To enable them to speak would require changes in their physiology, right?