Are human clones subsequent? Your trickiest cloning questions answered

Are human clones subsequent? Your trickiest cloning questions answered”

The first-ever monkey clone was produced in 1999 through embryo splitting - a method that duplicates the process through which identical twins are formed. The primate pair were photographed monkeying around in their chamber earlier this week.

The female baby monkeys, about 7 and 8 weeks old, are named Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua. Other cloning attempts were made using adult macaque cells, but those clones only lived for a few hours after birth.

Poo, however, said that his team does not have any intention to clone humans.

The following year, the Pontifical Academy for Life issued a statement acknowledging "there is a place for research, including cloning in the vegetable and animal kingdoms, wherever it answers a need or provides a significant benefit for man or for other living beings, provided that the rules for protecting the animal itself and the obligation to respect the biodiversity of species are observed".

As technology for the cloning of primates has been solved, theoretically humans can be cloned, said Poo, who directs the Institute of Neuroscience (ION) and Center for Excellence in Brain Science and Intelligence Technology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Cloning primates have proved much harder than other animals, including dogs, cats, pigs, horses, rats and mice since scientists successfully produced Dolly the cloned sheep in Scotland in July 1996. Mainstream scientists generally oppose making human babies by cloning, and Poo said society would ban it for ethical reasons. Only Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua remain.

Somatic cell nuclear transfer consists of removing the nucleus from an egg and replacing it with a differentiated cell, such as a skin cell, from the donor being cloned.

Chinese researchers have performed a feat that was previously impossible: they have cloned two healthy monkeys. This technique involves inserting DNA from one monkey into an enucleated egg of another to create an embryo.

"A primate model that can be generated with a known and uniform genetic background would undoubtedly be very useful in the study, understanding and ultimately treatment, of human diseases, especially those with a genetic element", he said. "So to achieve that in primates has been quite a technical advance", he said. People with at least some college education are more likely to find human cloning morally acceptable than those with a high school education or less, but the margin was 16 percent against 11 percent. "I rather think that the result attained is only an affirmation of self".

At the moment, because of safety concerns, federal regulators in the US would not allow making a human baby by cloning, and worldwide scientific groups also oppose it, said biomedical ethics expert Insoo Hyun of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Meanwhile, a Gallup poll on Thursday showed that about a third of United States residents (32 percent) say they found cloning animals morally acceptable.

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