Using the process that created Dolly the Sheep, it could produce uniform monkeys for use in research into human diseases.
The first primate clones made by somatic cell nuclear transfer are two genetically identical long-tailed macaques born recently at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Neuroscience in Shanghai. Researchers named the newborns Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua — born eight and six weeks ago, respectively — after the Chinese adjective „Zhonghua,” which means Chinese nation or people. The technical milestone, presented January 24 in the journal Cell, makes it a realistic possibility for labs to conduct research with customizable populations of genetically uniform monkeys.
„There are a lot of questions about primate biology that can be studied by having this additional model,” says senior author Qiang Sun, Director of the Nonhuman Primate Research Facility at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Neuroscience. „You can produce cloned monkeys with the same genetic background except the gene you manipulated. This will generate real models not just for genetically based brain diseases, but also cancer, immune, or metabolic disorders and allow us to test the efficacy of the drugs for these conditions before clinical use.”