In a groundbreaking achievement, scientists at the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing have successfully cloned a rhesus monkey using a revolutionary technique.
This marks the first instance of cloning this primate species, known for its anatomical and physiological closeness to humans. The clone, a healthy male, has defied prior challenges faced by cloning efforts in this species, surviving for over two years since its birth.
This achievement follows more than a quarter of a century since Dolly the sheep became the first cloned mammal.
The Chinese researchers utilized somatic cells from a rhesus monkey, employing the technique of somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). This process involves transferring the DNA from a somatic cell, such as a skin cell, to an egg cell with its nucleus removed.
Somatic cells contain genetic information but cannot give rise to new organisms, making the DNA transfer crucial for the success of SCNT.
If successful, the process leads to complete reprogramming of the genetic material, enabling the egg to divide and form a cloned embryo with a healthy placenta for growth.
While this achievement opens new possibilities in primate cloning, experts emphasize the ethical and safety considerations surrounding human cloning.
The success of the rhesus monkey clone introduces a promising strategy for primate cloning, as highlighted in the paper published today, Jan. 16, in Nature Communications.
The Rhesus macaque’s close anatomical and physiological resemblance to humans has made it a valuable subject in research on human health.
The researchers hope that their success will pave the way for further advancements in cloning technology, contributing to scientific understanding and medical research.