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First monkey clones created in Chinese laboratory

First monkey clones created in Chinese laboratory
From BBC - January 24, 2018

Two monkeys have been cloned using the technique that produced Dolly the sheep.

Identical long-tailed macaques Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua were born several weeks ago at a laboratory in China.

Scientists say populations of monkeys that are genetically identical will be useful for research into human diseases.

But critics say the work raises ethical concerns by bringing the world closer to human cloning.

Qiang Sun of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Neuroscience said the cloned monkeys will be useful as a model for studying diseases with a genetic basis, including some cancers, metabolic and immune disorders.

"There are a lot of questions about primate biology that can be studied by having this additional model," he said.

Zhong Zhong was born eight weeks ago and is named after the word for Chinese nation or people. Hua Hua was born six weeks ago.

The researchers say the monkeys are being bottle fed and are currently growing normally. They expect more macaque clones to be born over the coming months.

'Not a stepping stone'

Prof Robin Lovell-Badge of The Francis Crick Institute, London, said the technique used to clone Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua remains "a very inefficient and hazardous procedure".

"The work in this paper is not a stepping-stone to establishing methods for obtaining live born human clones," he said.

WATCH: Dolly - the world's most famous sheep

Prof Darren Griffin of the University of Kent said the approach may be useful in understanding human diseases, but raised ethical concerns.

'Much failure'

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