It was presented to the international community in Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua, 2 born macaques cloned with the Dolly method, The famous sheep that was successfully cloned just over two decades ago. This happened thanks to the Chinese Academy of Macro-City Sciences in Shanghai, at a crucial time when the debate over genetic manipulation and “à la carte” is on the table. The results were so astonishing that scientists predict a profitable breakthrough in the matter.
In addition to exceeding initial expectations and observing the normal behavior of primates both physically and mentally, the scientists involved say that in the future they will be able to genetically modify these animals as a pilot test for possible human genetic modification. aimed at reducing hereditary diseases such as cancer or Alzheimer’s disease.
The cloning of primates is already a reality
Everyone was amazed when the success of the first cloning of a mammal, the famous Dolly the Sheep, was announced in 1996. It marked a milestone and exponential advance in the scientific field related to genetics. work with the evolutionary branch of primates to demonstrate the possibility of create creatures without malformations or deficiencies. To date, it has only been possible to clone species of mammals with a total of 23 of them.
However, a few years after the Dolly phenomenon, the United States tried unsuccessfully to clone a monkey, but with a different technique. It was to imitate the division of an embryo in two to produce twins. In 2007, another team of American researchers cloned monkey embryos, but they did not become viable.
The Dolly method
As was the case with Dolly the Sheep, the method used to clone these two primates was that of nuclear transfer from a single individual cell, Grasp the fibroblast from the fetal tissue of a monkey. These nuclei were inserted into hollow eggs and, once fertilized, were incubated by the mothers until they gave birth to Zhong and Hua. It was so named because Zhonghua means “nation”.
Mu-Ming Poo, co-author of primate research and director of the Shanghai Institute of Neuroscience, warns there are no obstacles to cloning primates, making it increasingly viable cloning humans to share a lot of similar genes. At the same time, he wanted to move forward to clarify the million dollar question: will it be used to clone humans? The main goal at the moment is to produce non-human primates for research, with no intention of expanding it to humans.
Controversy and controversy
Many people will think how dangerous “playing God” can be. For decades, human beings have gone beyond their imaginations and the limits of science to achieve seemingly impossible goals, to walk on the moon, to reproduce bionic limbs and now it seems closer and closer to the creation of beings. humans. Remember the movie Frankenstein.
It turns out that the crux of the matter is not whether or not to reproduce humans genetically or to the consumer’s taste. The main thing is to develop new methods for investigate the causes of common illnesses, Prevent them or even cure them. The pharmaceutical industry spends huge sums of money producing pills that for practical purposes do not end the problem, but alleviate the symptoms. But in many cases, drugs that have been tested in mice and that are effective in humans do not produce any effect. The ability to clone fewer parts of the human body could give them more reliability and validity for such research.
Although the result of cloning these two primates is a real success, it is still premature to assume that from now on it will be easy to continue to do so. Out of more than 100 embryos developed and transferred with fibroblasts, only six pregnancies were realized and only 2 of them were born generating healthy clones. Thus, tests continue to show an obvious deficiency in the technique. With another test performed on nearly 200 embryos, the results were just as poor: out of 20 pregnancies, only 2 specimens were born and died shortly after.
Other experts from the Western world, such as Lluís Montoliu, of the Consell Superior d’Investigacions Científiques, believe that it is not really ethical to use this technique for the excess embryos used to achieve such poor results. According to Montoliu, twenty years after Dolly, the conclusions and results remain the same.