First monkey clones created in the lab

Hua Hua CREDIT Qiang Sun and Mu ming Poo Chinese Academy of Sciences 1

These reconstituted eggs grew and divided, finally becoming an early embryo, which was then placed into female monkeys to grow to birth.

The cloning technique was first brought to the world's attention by Dolly the sheep in 1996, the first mammal cloned from an adult somatic cell.

What is more interesting to note is that the technique will allow researchers to create whole labs full of genetically identical monkeys.

"Humans are primates", Poo said. "This is really, I think, a breakthrough for biomedicine". Named Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua, the goal of the research is to find a way to produce genetically uniform monkeys that would significantly assist scientists studying disease mechanisms and therapeutic treatments.

But now after intensive research on the particular cloning technique for years, scientists have finally created cloned macaques.

NPR reports that Insoo Hyun, a bioethicist at Case Western Reserve University suggested that "People may wonder: Are human beings next?" For now, it has not been clearly stated that if, this method can be used for cloning the humans or not. "And this is just yet another step in that direction". Nor are there any global protocols preventing such a use of human cloned embryos. "There's absolutely no plan to do anything on humans". Also, the research aims at creating more and more numbers of genetically identical monkeys in future that could be used for various medical researches. But other concerns have already been expressed by other scientists that it is opening the way to human clones, while others have pointed out that the Chinese technique is ineffective and unsafe for human cloning.

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Yet, because of their genetic proximity to humans, their intelligence and their social dynamics, non-human primates are considered vital to biomedical research.

For quite some time, researchers have been trying to expand the methods used to clone Dolly the sheep into other mammals. Some species just are like that; for example, mice and cats are easy to clone, but rats and dogs are hard.

Now we tend to use rodents for medical studies as they're easy to produce quickly and cheaply for large-scale experiments. Under this, the scientists transfer the nucleus DNA of a cell, into an egg which has had its nucleus DNA removed.

This process saw researchers remove the nucleus from an egg cell and replace it with another nucleus from differentiated body cells.

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the president of the Vatican's Academy for Life, called the news a "noteworthy" contribution to human understanding, but warned about the dangers of not considering the effects of such experiments on the ecosystem, and the need to evaluate the risks of using such knowledge in experiments with humans. "So that's what we did different". After that, the scientist would clone apes and humans.

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