Science

5 gene-edited monkeys cloned by China for human disease research

5 gene-edited monkeys cloned by China for human disease research”

Jiankui He, the Chinese scientist whose efforts produced the world's first gene-edited babies, did so through forgery and subterfuge, deliberately skirting the proper channels in the pursuit of personal fame, officials in China told Xinhua News (China's state-run press agency).

Other species were subsequently cloned via the method over the years but primates had until last year proven hard to clone and the team's achievement was hailed as a breakthrough.

Researchers are hopeful that the creation of primates with identical genes and symptoms would help them test new treatments for diseases like brain disorders, cancers etc.

Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Neuroscience via CNS shows five cloned macaques at a research institution near Shanghai.

He made headlines around the world when he announced in November past year that he had conducted a clinical trial that involved editing the genes of embryos. It is very disturbing that more such gene edited monkey clones will be produced for the sole goal of further experiments, even if they said this may reduce the number of monkeys used for future experiments. Wang Yue, a health law research at Peking University, spoke to the New York Times describing how China feeds to use this incident as an opportunity to enact stricter regulations as traditionally, "the legal responsibility is unclear and the penalties are very light".

"Disorder of circadian rhythm could lead to many human diseases, including sleep disorders, diabetic mellitus, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases, our BMAL1-knock out monkeys thus could be used to study the disease pathogenesis as well as therapeutic treatments", said Hung-Chun Chang, senior author and investigator of ION, CAS.

This was then replace with the nucleus from another cell in its body - from a fibroblast, a cell that creates collagen. The cell nucleus was transferred into a seedless egg. This egg then went on to develop into an embryo, and this was then transplanted into a female macaque that later gave birth to the monkey clones.

He embraced the tool, called CRISPR, and previous year rocked an worldwide conference with the claim that he had helped make the world's first gene-edited babies, despite a clear scientific consensus that making genetic changes that could be passed to future generations should not be attempted at this point. They expected to have more monkey clones that carry genetic mutations over the coming years. Meanwhile, the cloning project "paves the way for developing macaque monkey disease models with uniform genetic background".

The researchers plan to continue improving the technique in order to increase the efficiency of cloning.

"This behavior seriously violates ethics and the integrity of scientific research, is in serious violation of relevant national regulations and creates a pernicious influence at home and overseas", a Xinhua News Agency report said.

It is also the same general method used to clone Dolly the sheep more than two decades ago. Furthermore, the study is being supervised by the institute's ethics panel.



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