Scientists in the US have successfully cloned a primate for the first time — a rhesus macaque monkey. The news was immediately hailed as confirmation that cloning human embryos must also be possible. According to a report in the Independent, in the UK, researchers at the Oregon National Primate Research Center, led by Russian-born Shoukhrat Mitalipov, have created dozens of clones, as well as stem cell lines. However, their attempts to implant cloned embryos into the wombs of monkey mothers to get a live birth have all failed so far.
There have been some doubts about whether there might be an insuperable barrier to cloning primates, including man. This experiment, whose results will soon be published in the leading journal Nature, suggests that it is possible. The secret of the team’s success seems to be that they did not expose sensitive primate eggs to ultraviolet light and dyes.
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