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Chinese scientists create five gene-edited monkey clones to understand human diseases

The scientists claimed that the clones created using skin cells will help understand human diseases.

Chinese scientists create five gene-edited monkey clones to understand human diseases
Representational image

BEIJING: In a first, Chinese scientists have succeeded in creating five gene-edited macaque monkeys' clones with menatal health disroders.

The scientists claimed that the clones created using skin cells will help understand human diseases.

Since all the monkeys are clones they have the same DNA altered, resulting in symptoms seen in human conditions including anxiety, depression and schizophrenia.

The experiment was done at a laboratory in China and the scientists involved in this breakthrough project said that they have used the same technique which was applied to produce Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua – the first two cloned monkeys – in 2018.

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. In this case, the scientists managed to successfully remove the gene responsible for BMAL1, a substance that affects the circadian rhythms of the body.

Dr Hung-Chun Chang, a senior researcher for the project at the Chinese Academy of Sciences said that disorder of circadian rhythm is not a good thing as it can lead to sleep disorders, diabetic mellitus, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

Though the scientists had welcomed the announcement of the cloned monkeys in ealry 2018, calling it a technical achievement, they also raised the ethical issues associated with the cloning of primates. 

It is to be noted that primate research cannot be applied widely because it is tightly controlled.

The results of the latest experiments conducted by Chinese scientists were published in the English language Chinese journal National Science Review.