Science has come a long, long way in the past century. From the airplane to the atomic bomb to the computers we carry in our pocket every day. The same goes for the medical field, which has seen the curing of several deadly diseases and better treatments for those once deemed-death sentences.
Cutting-edge research is even going beyond cures and trying to create living things. Researchers have been building upon the infamous cloning of Dolly the sheep back in 1996, and after numerous success and failures, we finally have the first successful primate clones.
As reported at Stat News, a scientific breakthrough in China has resulted in the successful cloning of two long-tailed macaque monkeys.
Scientists in China reported on Wednesday that they had cloned two healthy long-tailed macaque monkeys from the cells of another macaque, utilizing the Dolly technique.
The two clones were born 51 and 49 days ago respectively. They were created from the cells of a fetus because scientists are still struggling to make things work when using the cells of adult macaques.
The cloning of primates is a necessary step in implementing the procedure on humans, as they are the most closely related to us. This fact was pointed out by co-author Mu-ming Poo of the Institute of Neuroscience in Shanghai, who declared “the technical barrier [to cloning primates] is now broken.” He also told reporters, the technique “could be applied to humans” — something he said his team has no intention of doing and sees no reason for.
Cloning pioneers said the monkey clones represented, as Dr. Robert Lanza put it, “an impressive breakthrough, which overcomes the last major hurdle in the field.”
Before this, “no one was able to produce living offspring” through primate cloning, said Shoukhrat Mitalipov, of Oregon Health and Science University, who in 2013 also used the Dolly technique to create human embryos (technically, blastocysts) from the cells of an 8-month-old. (He did not use the embryos to create pregnancies either.) “These guys made it work, which is quite an achievement.”
Who knows how much longer it will take for human cloning to become viable. Before that day comes, however, there undoubtedly will be significant debate over if it should be done in the first place. The technique raises all sorts of ethical and moral questions that are every bit as important as the scientific process, and as it stands, we’re still a long way from answering any of them.
Source: Stat News