First Cloned Monkeys Offer Hope For Medical Breakthroughs In Humans
Scientists recently cleared the hurdle of cloning primates, and because monkey clones can be genetically altered, one gene at a time, with techniques such as CRISPR. Researchers will be able to better study the effects of diseases such as cancer, Parkinson's, metabolic disorders and more. Some worry, however, that it takes us one step closer to cloning humans.
The Associated Press:
Scientists Successfully Clone Monkeys; Are Humans Up Next?
For the first time, researchers have used the cloning technique that produced Dolly the sheep to create healthy monkeys, bringing science an important step closer to being able to do the same with humans. Since Dolly's birth in 1996, scientists have cloned nearly two dozen kinds of mammals, including dogs, cats, pigs, cows and polo ponies, and have also created human embryos with this method. But until now, they have been unable to make babies this way in primates, the category that includes monkeys, apes and people. (Ritter, 1/24)
The Washington Post:
Researchers Clone The First Primates From Monkey Tissue Cells
“Monkeys are nonhuman primates that are evolutionarily close to humans,” said Muming Poo, a neuroscientist and member of the cloning team. He also said: “There is no intention for us to apply this method to humans.” The achievement suggests it is now possible to create research populations of identical, customized monkeys, which Poo and his colleagues said would decrease the number of primates used in laboratory experiments. (Guarino, 1/24)
Monkey Clones Made By Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer
The researchers hope to use the advance to create genetically identical monkeys for medical research. They describe their work in the journal Cell. "We're excited — extremely excited," Mu-ming Poo of the Chinese Academy of Sciences said. "This is really, I think, a breakthrough for biomedicine. "He sees a need to have "genetically identical monkeys for studying many human diseases, especially brain diseases" such as Alzheimer's, Huntington's and Parkinson's. (Stein, 1/24)
The First Cloned Monkeys Are Born. Will They Speed Research?
Scientists in China reported on Wednesday in Cell that they had cloned two healthy long-tailed macaque monkeys from the cells of another macaque, using the Dolly technique. The two clones, born 51 and 49 days ago, were created from a fetus’s cells; so far, the scientists have not been able to make the tricky procedure work when they used cells from adult macaques. That would seem to postpone the dystopian day when cloning children and grown-ups becomes as mainstream as IVF. But because “the technical barrier [to cloning primates] is now broken,” co-author Mu-ming Poo of the Institute of Neuroscience in Shanghai told reporters, the technique “could be applied to humans” — something he said his team has no intention of doing and sees no reason for. (Begley, 1/24)