by Anna Gombert
Scientists in Shanghai have successfully cloned a macaque monkey. The two cloned monkeys, Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua, were cloned seven and nine weeks ago respectively according to NPR.
The monkeys’ names come from the Chinese word Zhonghua, which means “Chinese people.”
The method used to clone the primates is the same that produced Dolly, the cloned sheep. According to CNN, the scientists used modern technology to enhance the cloning technique, called Somatic Cell Transfer (SCNT).
SCNT is a process in which scientists recreate an unfertilized egg by replacing the egg’s nucleus with that of another cell. They are then stimulated into embryos and implanted into a surrogate, as explained by NPR.
Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua are not the first primates to be cloned, as CNN mentions. In 1999, a rhesus monkey named Tetra was cloned, but with a simpler method than SCNT that produces fewer offspring.
This successful cloning carries strong implications for the future of cloning and the possibility of human cloning. It also opens up the possibility to further study diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. However, most of the cloned monkeys did not survive, dying either in the womb or soon after birth, CNN reports.