It’s the first time that this has happened. In China, researchers have cloned two monkeys named Zhong Zhua and Hua Hua, using cells put in a petri dish. Their birth took place in Chinese Academy Of Sciences in Shanghai, and the effort is a huge jump from the cloning of ‘Dolly The Sheep’ 20 years ago.
“It’s the first primate ever to be cloned. We are closer to humans than we’ve ever been before.That raises questions of where we would want to go,” Dr. Leonard Zon, the director of stem cell program at Boston Children’s Hospital was quoted as saying by New York Times.
“For SCNT (somatic cell nuclear transfer) using fetal monkey fibroblasts, 6 pregnancies were confirmed in 21 surrogates and yielded 2 healthy babies. For SCNT using adult monkey cumulus cells, 22 pregnancies were confirmed in 42 surrogates and yielded 2 babies that were short-lived. In both cases, genetic analyses confirmed that the nuclear DNA and mitochondria DNA of the monkey offspring originated from the nucleus donor cell and the oocyte donor monkey, respectively. Thus, cloning macaque monkeys by SCNT is feasible using fetal fibroblasts,” read the summary of the report.
Other than monkeys, scientists have also been able to successfully clone many mammals like dogs, cats and rabbits. But human cloning might take some more time. “Humans are primates. So (for) the cloning of primate species, including humans, the technical barrier is now broken. he reason … we broke this barrier is to produce animal models that are useful for medicine, for human health. There is no intention to apply this method to humans,” Mumming Poo, who supervised the program said in a statement.
But even though such a discovery might save lives in the future, it’s already killing a lot of lives. “Cloning is a horror show: a waste of lives, time and money — and the suffering that such experiments cause is unimaginable. Because cloning has a failure rate of at least 90 percent, these two monkeys represent misery and death on an enormous scale,” Kathy Guillermo, Senior VIce President of PETA said in a statement.