Monkeys Have Been Cloned, Humans Could Be Next

Chinese scientists have cloned monkeys using the same technique that produced Dolly the Sheep two decades ago, breaking a technical barrier that could open the door to copying humans.  Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua, two identical long-tailed macaques, were born eight and six weeks ago, making them the first primates — the order of mammals that includes monkeys, apes and humans — to be cloned from a non-embryonic cell.

It was achieved through a process called somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), which involves transferring the nucleus of a cell, which includes its DNA, into an egg which has had its nucleus removed. Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Neuroscience in Shanghai said their work should be a boon to medical research by making it possible to study diseases in populations of genetically uniform monkeys. But it also brings the feasibility of cloning to the doorstep of our own species.

CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO ENJOY THE VIDEO

Humans are primates. So [for] the cloning of primate species, including humans, the technical barrier is now broken,” said Muming Poo, who helped supervise the program at the institute.

“The reason … we broke this barrier is to produce animal models that are useful for medicine, for human health.

Genetically identical animals are useful in research because confounding factors caused by genetic variability in non-cloned animals can complicate experiments. They could be used to test new drugs for a range of diseases before clinical use. The two newborns are now being bottle-fed and are growing normally.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/

One Step Closer To The Human Cloning

Researchers at Oregon Health & Science UniversityOHSU – have made a significant breakthrough in efforts to develop human stem cell therapies that may be used to combat numerous devastating diseases. For the first time, scientists have successfully derived embryonic stem cells by reprogramming of genetic material from skin cells while studying rhesus macaque monkeys. The breakthrough follows several previously unsuccessful attempts by the OHSU-based team and other scientific teams worldwide.
HUMAN CLONES
Many scientists believe that embryonic stem cells hold great promise for treating a variety of diseases including Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, cardiac disease and spinal cord injuries,” explained Shoukhrat Mitalipov, Ph.D., director of the OHSU-based research team. “Using our advanced methods, it is conceivable that years from now, patients could receive therapeutic embryonic stem cells developed from their very own cells meaning that there would be no concerns about transplant rejection. Another noteworthy aspect of this research is that it does not involve the use of fertilized embryos, a topic which has been the source of a significant ethical debate in this country.

Neverthless “it’s a matter of time before they produce a cloned monkey,” said Jose Cibelli, a cloning expert at Michigan State University, who wasn’t involved in the study. It also means, he added, “that they are one step closer to where the efficiency is high enough that someone is willing to try” to clone a person.

The results of the work were released online by the scientific journal Nature.
Source: http://www.ohsu.edu