Chinese scientists claim to produce world's first cloned macaques

by Jared Lewis January 27, 2018, 11:09
Chinese scientists claim to produce world's first cloned macaques

Two othermonkeys were initially cloned from a different type of adult cell, but failed to survive. The authors of the paper say they have no intention of trying and they believe their results should spark a wider discussion about the laws and regulations the world needs to regulate cloning.

The successful experiment now poses an ethical dilemma for the human civilization because there is still no concrete evidence of human cloning being useful in any positive way.

Human cloning is now banned under worldwide law and Prof Robin Lovell-Badge, Group Leader of the Francis Crick Institute in London, warned it would be "foolish" to attempt to clone humans using the same technique.

It was the first time scientists had managed to clone a mammal from an adult cell, taken from the udder of a Finn Dorset sheep. They are two long-tailed macaque monkeys. The cloned female monkeys are just 7 and 8 weeks old babies with names as Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua respectively. Zhongzhong was born on November 27, while Huahua was born around a week later, on December 5.

If you're wondering if this means we can now clone humans; well, potentially, yes.

Hua Hua, one of two monkeys cloned by somatic cell nuclear transferQIANG SUN & MU-MING POO, CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCESResearchers in China have created the first viable primate clones made using somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), according to a study published yesterday (January 24) in Cell. Since Dolly, many animals have been cloned, including cats, dogs, mice, rabbits, cattle, and pigs. They optimized the nuclear transfer with cutting-edge imaging and improved the fusion of the donor cell to the egg cell during the transfer process. The embryo is then placed into a surrogate mother of the same it can be implemented into a similar species. In the end, the newly developed animal is an exact genetic copy of the animal that donated the cell nucleus.

They are monitoring the physical and mental growth of both Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua.

Apparently, the two newborn monkeys are now being bottle-fed and are growing normally. Research on monkeys and other primates has fallen out of favor among many scientists, particularly in the US. In principle, any primate including humans can be cloned.

They're not only the first primates in history to have been cloned from a non-embryonic cell, but the achievement itself represents a much more significant, scientific breakthrough, which could (but probably won't) lead to humans being cloned in the future. The monkeys are now about 7 weeks old; they live in the same kind of incubators used for human babies and are bottle-fed by human caregivers.

The study was published online January 24 in Cell.

Dr Callum MacKellar, the council's director of research, said: "There is a very serious risk that human clones would just be created to fulfil the desires of their creators".

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