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Sunday April 21, 2024

Scientists clone first rhesus monkey using new method

By AFP
January 17, 2024

PARIS: Scientists in China on Tuesday announced that they have cloned the first healthy rhesus monkey, a two-year-old named Retro, by tweaking the process that created Dolly the sheep.

The cloned rhesus monkey can be seen in this image. — Journal Nature Communications
The cloned rhesus monkey can be seen in this image. — Journal Nature Communications

Primates have proved particularly difficult to clone, and the scientists overcame years of failure by replacing the cloned cells that would become the placenta with those from a normal embryo.

They hope their new technique will lead to the creation of identical rhesus monkeys that can be experimented on for medical research. However, outside researchers warned that the success rate for the new method was still very low, as well as raising the usual ethical questions around cloning.

Since the historic cloning of Dolly the sheep using a technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) in 1996, more than 20 different animals have been created using the process, including dogs, cats, pigs and cattle. However it was not until two decades later that scientists managed to clone the first primates using SCNT.