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Chinese scientists have successfully cloned two monkeys using a procedure that previously failed to produce primates.
Scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Neuroscience (ION) in Shanghai, China recently produced two female monkeys through cloning. The scientists named the monkeys Hua Hua and Zhong Zhong. Although they are not the first monkey clones to be produced, they are the first ones to be produced using a cloning procedure called somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT).
In order to produce a clone through the SCNT, scientists took out the nucleus from an unfertilized egg and supplanted it with the nucleus from another cell. The egg with the new nucleus then developed into an embryo, which was placed into a surrogate mother.
To increase the likelihood of success, the ION scientists used new technology that made the nucleus transfer faster. They also used cells from fetuses after learning that clones made from such cells survived longer than clones made from adult cells. Using the improved procedure, the scientists were able to develop 79 genetically similar embryos that were implanted in 21 female monkey surrogates. The procedure produced six pregnancies with two successful births.
Primates are not the only animals to be cloned. In 2005, South Korean scientists made the clone of an Afghan hound, which was named Snuppy. In 2017, scientists made three clones with cells taken from Snuppy. The second-generation dog clones remain healthy and are still being studied by scientists today.