Move Over, Dolly: Scientists Clone Two Monkeys

For the first time, researchers have used the cloning method that produced Dolly the sheep to create two healthy monkeys, bringing science an important step closer to being able to do the same with humans…

The years-long effort, led by Chinese Academy of Sciences postdoctoral fellow Zhen Liu, culminated in the recent birth of two female macaques, Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua. The macaques’ names are drawn from the word zhonghua, an adjective for the Chinese people…

The two big-eyed primates were created in a process called somatic cell nuclear transfer. In this method, researchers take an egg cell, or oocyte, and remove its nucleus (which holds its DNA). Then, they take a body, or somatic, cell from the individual they’d like to clone and remove its nucleus, transferring that nucleus into the empty egg. The cell is then allowed to divide and grow for several days to reach a multicell blastocyst stage. The blastocyst is then implanted in the uterus of a surrogate mother monkey to develop into a fetus and, hopefully, a baby…

“For the cloning of primate species, including humans, the technical barrier is now broken,” says study coauthor Mu-Ming Poo, who directs the Center for Excellence in Brain Science and Intelligence Technology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. “However, the reason we chose to break this barrier is to produce animal models that are useful for human medicine. There’s no intention to apply this method to humans.”

The researchers hope to produce gene-edited macaque clones for use in this kind of research within a year…

Video CreditAssociated Press




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