Chinese scientists create five gene-edited monkey clones to understand human diseases

Chinese scientists clone five gene-edited monkeys

Chinese scientists clone five gene-edited monkeys

He embraced the tool, called CRISPR, and a year ago rocked an worldwide conference with the claim that he had helped make the world's first gene-edited babies, despite a clear scientific consensus that making genetic changes that could be passed to future generations should not be attempted at this point.

He provoked worldwide outcry last November when he revealed that he had used the gene-editing technique CRISPR-Cas9 to modify human embryos in an effort to make them resistant to HIV; the embryos were then implanted into a woman and produced twin girls, Nana and Lulu, in November. Now, Chinese researchers have pushed the envelope even further - by breaking a regulatory gene in macaques before cloning them.

Five cloned monkeys have been born with genes that were edited to cause mental illness, a team of Chinese researchers announced on Wednesday, Trend reports referring to South China Morning Post.

They selected one of the gene-edited monkeys with the most severe disease phenotypes as the donor.

In a pair of new papers published by the scientists, the team describes the successful cloning effort using somatic cell nuclear transfer while also noting that the cloned monkey exhibited the same circadian-related symptoms as the donor monkey.

"This number will be greatly reduced by the use of monkeys with uniform genetic background that reduces the noise in experimental studies", Dr Poo said, pointing to the example of testing drug efficacy before clinical trials.

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.

Besides being used to study human brain diseases, the models will be used to test medicine effectiveness, which can help reduce the number of animal models used in experiments and lower the cost of medicine development, he said.

"More cloned monkeys will soon be produced", he said at the time. They removed the nucleus from a monkey egg cell and replaced it with the nucleus from a cell taken from the donor monkey.

The embryo is implanted into the womb of a surrogate monkey that eventually give birth to the clones. "We believe that this approach of cloning gene-edited monkeys could be used to generate a variety of monkey models for gene-based diseases, including many brain diseases, as well as immune and metabolic disorders and cancer".

The Chinese researchers aim to better the technique used to boost cloning efficiency. They expected to have more monkey clones that carry genetic mutations over the coming years.

"This line of research will help to reduce the amount of macaque monkeys now used in bio-medical research around the world", he said.

Since Dolly was cloned in Scotland, more than 20 species of mammals have been cloned around the world - including cattle, cats, dogs, horses and rats.

Chinese scientists have ensured in their report that the program is not violating any rules under worldwide ethical standards for animal research.

ION, CAS is following strict worldwide guidelines for animal research.

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