China clones gene-edited monkeys for sleep disorder research

A gene-edited monkey most prone to the disorder was selected as a donor, and its fibroblasts were used to make five cloned monkeys.

China clones gene-edited monkeys for sleep disorder research
Image courtesy: Reuters

SHANGHAI: Chinese scientists have made clones of a gene-edited macaque to aid research of circadian rhythm disorders that are linked to sleep problems, depression and Alzheimer`s disease, the official Xinhua news agency said on Thursday.

It was the first time multiple clones had been made from a gene-edited monkey for biomedical research, the agency said. The clones were born at the Institute of Neuroscience at the China Academy of Sciences in Shanghai.

A gene-edited monkey most prone to the disorder was selected as a donor, and its fibroblasts were used to make five cloned monkeys, Xinhua said, citing National Science Review, a Chinese journal.

The official China Daily said the clones would pave the way for more research into such problems in humans, which have become a major mental health concern.

The cloned monkeys already show signs of "negative behaviour", including sleep disorders, as well as elevated levels of anxiety and "schizophrenia-like behaviours", the paper added. Xinhua said the programme, supervised by the institute`s ethics panel, was in line with international ethical standards for animal research