by Nick Whigham, news.com.au
In a controversial experiment, Chinese scientists have successfully cloned a monkey using the same technique employed to clone Dolly the sheep more than two decades ago.
It marks the first time a primate has ever been cloned in such a manner.
The successful experiment was published in the journal Cell and could boost medical research into human diseases and open the door to human cloning.
The Chinese scientists responsible used a technique known as somatic cell nuclear transfer to create two long-tailed macaques. The two female monkeys — eight weeks and six weeks old — were born at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Neuroscience in Shanghai. They are both reportedly healthy and currently live in an incubator.
The pair are the result of years of research into the cloning technique, with researchers saying it took three years to perfect the procedure.
“We tried several different methods, but only one worked,” said senior author Qiang Sun, Director of the Nonhuman Primate Research Facility at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Neurosciences.
“There was much failure before we found a way to successfully clone a monkey.”
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