Shanghai scientists clone monkeys
Scientists in China have for the first time managed to clone monkeys using the same method used to clone the Sheep ‘Dolly’ more than 20 years ago.
After years of research, the Makake monkeys Hua Hua and Zhong Zhong have been born at the Chinese Institute of Neuroscience in Shanghai.
– A barrier has been broken through this work, says Muming Poo, who has participated in the project.
Monkeys have been cloned earlier, but then using a simpler method has been used that can maximally produce four individs. The alternative method can, in principle, make it possible to clone far more individs at a time.
This may allow cloning of large amounts of genetically identical monkeys for use in testing on animals. If the animals are genetically identical, researchers and pharmaceutical companies can make do with fewer animals.
More than 30,000 monkeys are imported by drug companies every year in the United States alone. Poo points out that it will be an advantage to make do with fewer animals in experiments for ethical reasons.
The method used by Chinese researchers can in principle also be used to clone people in the future – something many are very skeptical to for ethical reasons. Poo emphasizes that his team has focused on cloning for medical purposes.
The first mammal cloned with the method currently employed in Shanghai was the sheep ‘Dolly’ in 1996.
© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today