Scientists in China have cloned five monkeys for human disease research. The research team edited genes of monkeys to induce several human diseases like Alzheimer’s claiming that it would help in medical research.
This experiment may likely to raise fresh ethical concerns about gene-editing. As per the media reports, this is the first time multiple clones had been made from a gene-edited monkey for biomedical research.
The announcement in National Science Review, a Chinese journal, follows the recent confirmation that the world’s first gene-edited human babies have been born in China, which caused widespread disquiet in the scientific community.
The cloned monkeys born in Shanghai at the Institute of Neuroscience of Chinese Academy of Sciences are closer to the human in physiology, make better models for research on disease pathogenesis and potential therapeutic treatments.
In order to create an ideal donor monkey, researchers knocked out a core circadian regulatory transition factor named BMAL1, using gene editing at the embryo stage.
The particular one of the gene-edited monkeys with the supreme severe disease phenotypes as the donor. The fibroblasts of the donor were then used to replica five monkeys by somatic cell nuclear transfer, the same method used to generate Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua, the initially cloned monkeys born in China at the end of 2017.
Earlier, mice and flies were generally used for the research of such diseases, but these animal models differ greatly from human beings in terms of activity routines, brain structure, and metabolic rate.