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They get to clone the first monkeys with the Dolly method

They get to clone the first monkeys with the Dolly method

April 29, 2024

Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua have been introduced to the international community two macaques that were born cloned with the Dolly method , the famous sheep that could be successfully cloned a little over two decades ago. This has happened thanks to the Chinese Academy of Sciences in the macro city of Shanghai, at a decisive moment where the debate about genetic manipulation and "à la carte" is on the table. The results have been so surprising that the scientists predict a profitable advance in the matter.

In addition to having exceeded initial expectations and observing the normal behavior of primates both physically and psychologically, the scientists involved say that in the future they can genetically modify these animals as a pilot test for a possible human genetic modification aimed at reducing diseases hereditary diseases such as cancer or Alzheimer's.

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Cloning primates is now a reality

Everyone was stunned when the success of the first cloning of a mammal, the famous Dolly sheep, was announced back in 1996. This was a milestone and an exponential advance in the scientific field linked to genetics, and since then has tried to work with the evolutionary branch of primates to be able to demonstrate the possibility of create creatures without malformations or deficiencies . To date, it has only been possible to clone mammalian species, with a total of 23 of them.

However, a few years after the Dolly phenomenon, in the United States an unsuccessful attempt was made to clone a monkey, albeit with a different technique. This was about emulating the division of an embryo in two to produce twins. Back in 2007, another team of American researchers cloned monkey embryos, but without these becoming viable.

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The Dolly method

As it happened with Dolly the sheep, the method used to clone these two primates has been the nuclear transfer from a cell of a single individual , taking a fibroblast from the tissue of the fetus of a monkey. These nuclei were inserted in empty ovules and, once fertilized, they were incubated by mothers until they gave birth to Zhong and Hua. They were baptized that way because Zhonghua means "nation."

Mu-Ming Poo, co-author of the primate research and director of the Shanghai Neuroscience Institute, warns that there are no barriers to cloning primates, making it increasingly feasible to clone humans for sharing a genetic very similar. At the same time, he wanted to move forward to clear the million dollar question: will this serve to clone humans? The primary objective at the moment is to produce non-human primates for research, without any intention of extending it to people.

Controversy and controversy

Many people will come to mind how dangerous it can be to "play God." For decades, the human being has gone beyond his imagination and the limits of science to achieve impossible a priori milestones, passing through the moon, reproducing bionic extremities and now the creation of human beings seems closer and closer. Remind yourself of Frankenstein's film.

It turns out that the crux of the matter does not lie in the possibility or not of reproducing humans genetically or to the taste of the consumer. The main goal is to develop new methods for investigate the causes of common diseases , prevent them or even cure them. The pharmaceutical industry spends huge amounts of money producing pills that, for all practical purposes, do not end the problem, but rather attenuate its symptoms. But in many cases the drugs that are experienced in mice and are effective, in a human being have no effect. The possibility of cloning at least parts of the human body could serve to give these investigations more reliability and validity.

Final results?

Although the result of the cloning of these two primates is a real success, it is still premature to assume that from now on it will be easy to continue doing so. Of the more than 100 embryos developed and transferred with fibroblasts, only six pregnancies were achieved and only 2 of them were born generating healthy clones. In this way, the tests continue to show a clear deficiency in the technique. With another test that was performed on almost 200 embryos, the results were equally poor: from 20 pregnancies only 2 specimens that died soon after were born.

Other experts from the western world, such as Lluís Montoliu, of the Superior Council of Scientific Research, believes that It is not truly ethical to use this technique because of the excess embryos used to achieve such poor results. According to Montoliu, twenty years after Dolly, the conclusions and results remain the same.

Move Over, Dolly: Scientists Clone Two Monkeys (April 2024).

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