Chinese Scientists Just Successfully Cloned Monkeys and Humans Could Be Next
The science of cloning mammals has had some significant breakthroughs in the past few decades, but the process has never gone particularly smoothly.
While Dolly the Sheep proved that this technology has promise, up until now scientists have been unsuccessful in cloning primates, providing a solid barrier to being able to make copycat human beings.
Now, though, experts from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai have managed to create viable cloned monkey embryos, leading to the recent birth of a pair of adorable—and genetically identical—macaque monkeys named Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua.
The achievement is not inconsequential—work to successfully clone primates has been ongoing for decades, and it's taken this long to simply replicate the same process that was used to create Dolly the Sheep back in 1996.
The process involves taking an unfertilized monkey egg, removing its genetic information, and then inserting the DNA from a non-sex cell from an adult monkey. The inclusion of a full set of genetic data is enough to trigger mitosis, as the makeshift embryo begins to divide, forming into a fetus over time if successfully embedded into a fertile womb.
That said, while this technology is well understood by this point, actually pulling off such tricky science is far from easy.