Animal clones and gene-edited animals have been made before, and now adding to this scientists have again made clones from single gene-edited monkey to research about various problems like sleep disorders and Alzheimer’s.
Chinese scientists have recently made five clones of a gene-edited a macaque – a species of monkey – in order to research more about circadian rhythm disorders that are linked to sleep problems, depression, and Alzheimer’s diseases, reported Xinhua.
A gene-edited monkey most prone to the disorder was picked to be a donor. The monkey’s fibroblasts were used to make the five cloned monkeys. This multiple clones made from a gene-edited monkey for biomedical research marks it as the first ever achievement and the team wants to make more macaque clones carrying disease-causing gene mutations, reported The Sun.
The monkeys were cloned from another monkey whose own genes had been edited to remove a vital gene that regulars the body’s circadian rhythm, called the BMAL1.
According to China Daily, the clones would open ways for more research into similar problems in humans, which have now become a huge problem. The cloned monkeys already display signs of ‘negative behavior’ like sleep disorders, elevated levels of anxiety and depression, and ‘schizophrenia-like behaviors’, as per the study published the journal National Science Review.
“Disorder of circadian rhythm could lead to many human diseases, including sleep disorders, diabetic mellitus, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. Our...monkeys thus could be used to study the diseases pathogenesis, as well as therapeutic treatments,” said senior author Hung-Chun Chang.
Scientists hope that this cloning of gene-edited monkeys ‘could be used to generate a variety of monkey models for gene-based diseases’, including ‘many brain diseases, as well as immune and metabolic disorders can cancer’.
As per Xinhua, though the program was in line with international ethical standards for animal research, some scientists have termed the program to be ‘monstrous’. Scientist Julia Baines told The Sun, “Genetically manipulating and then cloning animals is a monstrous practice that causes animals to suffer.”
She added that Chinese experiments were ‘an abomination’, causing monkeys to be ‘born into a life of deprivation and to be plagued with symptoms including anxiety, fear, depression, behavior associated with schizophrenia, and sleep deprivation, each a horror on its own’.