ccording to a recent cover report by Cell, Chinese scientists have taken the lead in breeding cloned monkeys based on somatic cells (non-reproductive cells).
The first cloned monkey named “Zhongzhong,” was born on November 27, 2017, at the Institute of Neuroscience, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the CAS Center for Excellence in Brain Science and Intelligence Technology. The second monkey clone, named “Huahua” was born a week later.
Since Dolly, the first cloned sheep was born in the UK in 1997, scientists worldwide have bred several other cloned mammals based on somatic cells, but none were primates as the processes involved were too difficult, including building embryos. Zhongzhong’s birth is regarded as a major breakthrough in the technological bottleneck.
As monkeys have a similar genetic structure to humans, scientists think the cloning technology can be used to help study brain science and develop drugs against incurable conditions like Alzheimer’s and infantile autism.