CHINESE SCIENTISTS CLONED GENE-EDITED MONKEYS WITH HORRIFYING RESULTS. Come soon Lord Jesus!
Futurism.com. January 25 2019
Almost exactly one year ago, the world met Hua Hua and Zhong Zhong, the first primates cloned through a technique that could theoretically produce an unlimited number of replicas.
Now, a team of Chinese scientists has used the same technique to produce five clones of another monkey, one genetically altered to have a disorder with an array of traumatic psychological side effects — and the research is a horrifying ethical minefield.
The technique used to clone the monkeys is called somatic cell nuclear transfer, and it involves replacing the nucleus of a donor egg with one removed from the cell of another animal.
With Hua Hua and Zhong Zhong, scientists retrieved their donor nucleus from the cells of fetal macaques.
This time, though, researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences used the nucleus of cells from a genetically altered monkey. Specifically, they used CRISPR-Cas9 to alter the animal’s BMAL1 gene, which helps manage certain circadian rhythms in some mammals, while it was still an embryo.
The five newborn monkeys exhibited a “wide-range of circadian disorder phenotypes,” including reduced sleep, increased movement at night, schizophrenia-like behaviors, and signs of anxiety and depression — all of which are on display in a disturbing video released alongside the research.
Of Monkeys And Men
While the idea of purposely subjecting animals to the psychological stresses described above is troubling, the researchers believe the potential benefits to humanity are worth it.
“Disorder of circadian rhythm could lead to many human diseases, including sleep disorders, diabetic mellitus, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases,” researcher Hung-Chun Chang said in a press release. “Our BMAL1-knock out monkeys thus could be used to study the disease pathogenesis as well as therapeutic treatments.”
There’s also the possibility that cloning genetically altered animals could actually reduce the number needed for research.
Categories: Genetic Manipulation and Hybridization Update