Chinese scientists successfully clone monkeys

The monkeys were cloned using the same technique that produced Dolly in 1996, and could be a major breakthrough in the treatment of cancer and other diseases    

Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua, the world’s first monkeys cloned using the technique that gave us Dolly the sheep
Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua, the world’s first monkeys cloned using the technique that gave us Dolly the sheep

Chinese scientists have successfully cloned monkeys using the same technique that gave the world Dolly the sheep back in 1996.

While there have been a number of species of mammal cloned since Dolly, monkeys have so far been resistant to the technique.

The two monkeys - Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua – represent a technical milestone, and could pave the way for speeding up treatments for diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and cancer. The breakthrough could also open the door to copying humans.

The cloning of the two monkeys - two identical long-tailed macaques - were born eight and six weeks ago, making them the first primates to be cloned from non-embryonic cells.

Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Neuroscience in Shangai achieved the breakthrough through a process called somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), which involves transferring the nucleus of a cell, including its DNA, into an egg which has had its nucleus removed.

Through the technique, scientists could be able to create customisable and genetically uniform populations of monkeys, which would all inherit the exact same genetic material. 

The development could potentially enable scientists to alter genes the monkeys possess which are linked to human disease, and then monitor how this alters the animals’ biology, comparing it against animals that are genetically identical.

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