22 years ago, scientists used a
technique to clone a sheep called
Dolly. Now scientists in China have
successfully cloned two healthy
monkeys. We are closer to being
able to do it with humans.
Since Dolly's birth in 1996, scientists have cloned nearly two dozen kinds of mammals, including dogs, cats, pigs and cows. They have also created human embryos with this method. But until now, they had been unable to make primate babies—the group of animals that includes monkeys, apes and people.
In a paper released on January 25 by the journal Cell , the Chinese Academy of Sciences researcher Muming Poo and his team announced that they had successfully created two macaques. The female baby monkeys, about 7 and 8 weeks old, are named Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua.
Monkeys made in this way could be used to study diseases that hurt people. Not only can the team clone monkeys, but they can change the genes to give human diseases to the monkeys. Then scientists could test out new treatments. Two troublesome diseases called Alzheimer's and Parkinson's would be first.
But is that wrong to do? The Vatican's top bioethics official, Archbishop Vincenzio Paglia, said on January 26 that it was an important scientific development, but the ethics of it need to be discussed urgently.
科學家在22年前以新技術複製出 一隻羊，也就是大家所稱的桃莉羊 。現在，中國科學家以相同技術成 功複製兩隻健康的猴子。這也表示 ，我們更接近複製人的技術了。
自1996年桃莉羊誕生以來，科學 家已複製近24種哺乳動物，包括 狗、貓、豬、牛等。他們也用同 樣方法培育人類胚胎，不過至今 仍無法複製猴子、猿、人等靈長 類動物。
中國科學院研究員蒲慕明和他 的團隊，在1 月25 日刊登於期刊 《細胞》的論文中宣布，他們已 成功複製兩隻母獼猴，分別取名 為中中和華華，目前約7 週和8 週大。
這些猴子可用來研究危害人類 的疾病，因為這個團隊除了可以 複製猴子，還能編輯基因，培育 擁有人類疾病基因的猴子。科學 家能以此試驗新的治療方式，一 開始會用在阿茲海默症和帕金森 氏症這兩種棘手病症上。
但是這樣做錯了嗎？梵諦岡最 高生物倫理學官員，帕以亞樞機 主教在1 月26 日表示，這是一個 重要的科學成就，但也迫切需要 進行倫理辯論。