China scientists clone 5 gene-edited monkeys: Aren't they super cute

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For the first time ever, multiple monkeys have been cloned from a gene-edited technology
For the first time ever, multiple monkeys have been cloned from a gene-edited technology

New Delhi : The gene editing technology seems to be trending in the science sphere. The news of gene-edited chicken is at its infancy and now again, there is fresh news of gene-edited monkeys. A team of Chinese scientists have cloned five monkeys. These monkeys were cloned from a gene-edited macaque.

To inform, Macaques are Asian monkeys typically having a sturdy build and including some short-tailed or tailless forms. The gene-edited macaque had circadian rhythm disorders associated with depression, diabetic, cancer and Alzheimer's disease.

For the first time ever, multiple monkeys have been cloned from a gene-edited monkey for biomedical research, xinhua news agency report on 24 January.

The cloned monkeys are closer to humans in terms of activity routines, brain structure and metabolic rate, make better models for research on disease pathogenesis and potential therapeutic treatments. The statement has been confirmed by the team from Institute of Neuroscience of Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai.

To perform this tough experiment, researchers knocked out BMAL1, a core circadian regulatory transcription factor, using gene editing at the embryo stage and finally created an ideal donar monkey.

They selected one of the gene-edited monkeys with the most severe disease phenotypes as the donor. The fibroblasts of the donor were then used to clone five monkeys by somatic cell nuclear transfer, the same method used to generate Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua, the first cloned monkeys born in China at the end of 2017, the report published in the National Science Review journal revealed.

Other than the first cloned monkeys created way back in 2017, this time, the new clones were made using a gene-edited young adult male monkey.

"It shows that besides using foetus, batch cloning of gene-edited male monkeys with diseases is also feasible," Qiang Sun from the institute, was quoted as saying.

As of now, the researchers are planning to clone monkey models with different brain diseases. This experiment could be beneficial to study human brain diseases and make effective medicines.