An American team has successfully cloned monkey embryos for the first time. Although the resulting pregnancies only last a month, reproductive biologist Gerald Schatten of the University of Pittsburgh was elated. His work has confirmed the results of a South Korean team which announced earlier this year that it had cloned human embryos and created an embryonic stem cell line. Dr Schatten says his work opens up the possibility of refining research cloning without using human eggs and embryos.
As recently as last year Schatten speculated in the journal Science that cloning any primate, including man, might be impossible. Now he merely says that it is still too early to say whether cloned monkeys will ever be born. In any case, their development would probably not be a good predictor of whether cloned humans would be healthy.
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