Island of Dr. More-asses....
May 18, 2009 11:31 AM   Subscribe

How can I make a monkey with four asses?

Hypothetically of course.

I'm studying for my developmental biology final and one of the study questions asks how one could conceivably create web-footed mice as designer pets. (One answer involves preventing inter-digital cell death by inhibiting bone morphogenic protein (BMP) signaling. One could do this with strategically placed beads soaked soaked in Gremlin protein.)

So the natural extension of this question is: what if I want to make designer pets with webbed feet and four asses? How could I accomplish this?

In terms of what constitutes an ass: I am less interested in anuses than buttocks. Four sets of round bilaterally symmetrical buttock muscles coated in subcutaneous fat would be the gold standard. And they can be anywhere on the organism although dorsal positioning seems more traditional than ventral.

Don't worry, I'm not actually making any little monsters. I am curious about non-limb muscle development and I'm having trouble finding information about it. So I'm interested in any ideas on how the classic four-assed-monkey could be made. Any information on the developmental regulation of musculature would be helpful as well as any info on butt-region related signaling.
posted by ladypants to Science & Nature (7 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I read that at first as "How can I make money with four asses?"

To which my response was going to be, "You actually need to ask?!"

I would assume that it would be easiest to somehow attach the second ass above the first, but easy is certainly relative there.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 2:50 PM on May 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The buttock muscles are part of the lower limb, which is probably why your research into non-limb muscle development has not proved useful. You will need to induce additional limb buds in tissue expressing the right Hox genes to make a hind limb (maybe expression of hoxa10 and hoxd10 in additional segments will do this?) and find a way of removing the distal parts of the limb either by impairing proximo-distal signaling (you have surely covered this in your developmental biology course) or by amputation (think of it as extreme declawing).
posted by nowonmai at 3:38 PM on May 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: peanut_mcgillicutty, An ass-graft does seem like the simplest solution.

nowonma: thanks! I wasn't sure if the ass was part of the leg, or the junction where leg meets body. I thought about just inducing multiple posteriors with distal hox genes but that would potentially induce additional vertebrae. Inducing limb buds and inhibiting distal limb formation as you suggest would probably make some great asses.
posted by ladypants at 3:56 PM on May 18, 2009

I guess you could probably use ENU mutagenesis on the male G0 monkeys, breed them with normal female monkeys and screen for the four-assed phenotype. You'd probably have to do a lot of dissection of the pregnant mothers, though, because there's a good likelihood that the four-assed phenotype would be embryonic-lethal.
posted by kisch mokusch at 4:47 PM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Not a genetic researcher(obviously) but it seems to me a monkey with 8 legs inline would need 4 asses.... I'm just sayin
posted by Redhush at 4:56 PM on May 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Obviously, you make a monkey with three asses, and then take it from there.
posted by Sublimity at 10:51 PM on May 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: kisch mokusch, if I mutagenized the G0 monkeys, and they had infinite offspring, I would surely get at leats one multi-assed monkeys typing Hamlet. Million dollar idea!

Redhush, indeed, although it took me a while to see it. Asses are where legs meet the body! Assuming the legs are paired that should work. DJ Assault has a NSFW song that follows the same logic of bilateral symmetry.

Sublimity, indeed! The Hox genes that peanut_mcgillicutty suggested seem like just the ticket for 3 assed monkeys as well as potential boytaurs. Such good answers! So many good applications!
posted by ladypants at 11:20 AM on May 20, 2009

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