China clones 5 gene-edited monkeys to aid disorder research

China clones 5 gene-edited monkeys to aid disorder research

China clones 5 gene-edited monkeys to aid disorder research

The first cohort of five gene-edited monkey clones made from fibroblasts of a monkey with disease phenotypes were born recently at the Institute of Neuroscience (ION) of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in Shanghai.

The experiment to clone the two healthy monkeys, reported in the journal Cell in January previous year, also caused some apprehension among the broader scientific community.

"The achievement heralds a new era in which China can produce batches of standardised monkey clones, which will serve as animal models in the research of the brain's cognitive functions, early diagnoses..." "The research will help to reduce the amount of macaque monkeys now used in biomedical research around the world".

In 2017, He, then little-known, attended a meeting in Berkeley, California, where scientists and ethicists were discussing a technology that had shaken the field to its core - an emerging tool for "editing" genes, the strings of DNA that form the blueprint of life.

Circadian rhythm disorders - or conditions in which a human's sleep times are out of alignment and causes problems sleeping at normal times - are often linked to depression, insomnia and Alzheimer's.

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And while children can reject healthy food at home, at school, she said, "when everyone gets it, no one rejects it". She points to rates of obesity, diabetes, and cardiac disease increasing, as well as rates of cancer.

"Before there were genetically modified monkeys and cloned monkeys".

A gene-edited monkey most prone to the disorder was picked to be a donor. "Our...monkeys thus could be used to study the diseases pathogenesis, as well as therapeutic treatments", said senior author Hung-Chun Chang.

He said that the research signified the maturing of China's somatic cell cloning. 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".

The reconstructed egg then developed into an embryo that carries the genes of the replacement nucleus.

Once the fibroblast nucleus was implanted in the egg cell, the embryo was cultivated and differentiates until it forms a complete organism.

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This time, the team transferred 325 cloned embryos into 65 surrogate mothers, resulting in 16 pregnancies and five live births.

"Our approach is to ... select one monkey that exhibits the correct gene-editing and most severe disease phenotypes as the donor monkey for cloning", Sun Qiang, the scientist who led the study, said in a press statement. Meanwhile, the cloning project "paves the way for developing macaque monkey disease models with uniform genetic background". The group is expecting more macaque clones carrying disease-causing gene mutations to be generated in the coming years.

The institute of Neuroscience claims to follow strict worldwide guidelines for animal research. Furthermore, the study is being supervised by the institute's ethics panel.

Using the same technique that produced Dolly the sheep, Chinese scientists are hailing the development as a major breakthrough.

He said this could also reduce the overall numbers of healthy macaques that are subjected to experiments around the world, in a boost for animal welfare.

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