Scientists Successfully Clone Monkeys- are Humans Next? Ethical Issues with Human Cloning (Download PDF)

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For the first time, researchers have used the cloning technique to create healthy monkeys- earlier the same technique was used to clone Dolly, the sheep. The creation of monkeys by cloning brings science an important step closer to being able to do the same with humans.

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Image of Ethics of Cloning

Image of ethics of cloning

Significance of This Cloning

  • Since Dolly’s birth in 1996, scientists have cloned nearly two dozen kinds of mammals, including dogs, cats, pigs, cows and polo ponies.

  • The scientists have also created human embryos.

  • Until now, they were unsuccessful in making babies in primates- category that includes monkeys, apes and people.

  • Successful cloning of monkeys has proved that cloning of humans is theoretically possible.

Applications of Cloning

  • Cloning of foetal cells could be combined with gene editing techniques to produce large numbers of monkeys with certain genetic defects that cause disease in people.

  • The animals could then be used to study such diseases and test treatments.

  • The researchers said their initial targets will be Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Details About the Cloned Monkeys

  • Muming Poo of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in Shanghai and his colleagues successfully created two macaques.

  • The female baby monkeys, about 7 and 8 weeks old, are named Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua.

Ethical Issues with Human Cloning- Will Humans Be Cloned Next?

  • Poo said his team has no intention of doing cloning humans.

  • Poo said society would ban making of human babies by cloning for ethical reasons.

  • Mainstream scientists generally oppose making human babies by cloning.

  • Attempts to clone babies from a human adult would likely fail.

  • The suffering caused by the many lost pregnancies the process entails, is another reason.

Why the Process is Considered Inefficient?

  • It took 127 eggs to get the two babies

  • The group has succeeded only by starting with a monkey fetus.

  • The scientists failed to produce healthy babies from an adult monkey, though they are still trying and are awaiting the outcome of some pregnancies.

How Did This Cloning Work?

  • Chinese scientists removed the DNA-containing nucleus from monkey eggs and replaced it with DNA from the monkey foetus.

  • These reconstituted eggs grew and divided, finally becoming an early embryo, which was then placed into female monkeys to grow to birth.

  • The scientists implanted 79 embryos to produce the two babies.

What is Cloning?

  • Cloning produces similar populations of genetically identical individuals that occurs in nature when organisms such as bacteria, insects, plants, or animals reproduce asexually.

  • Cloning in biotechnology refers to processes used to create copies of DNA fragments (molecular cloning), cells (cell cloning), or organisms (organism cloning).

Who is Dolly?

  • Dolly was a sheep which was produced by cloning.

  • She was born on 5th July 1996 and died from a progressive lung disease five months before her seventh birthday

  • Dolly caused a sensation because she was the first mammal cloned from an adult.

- Published/Last Modified on: March 4, 2018

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