SEEING DOUBLE

First Primate Clones Successfully Produced in China

Researchers in China have successfully produced two macaque clones in research published in the journal Cell on Wednesday. One macaque is eight weeks old; the second is six weeks old. The clones were produced using a similar technique to Dolly the sheep in 1996, the first cloned mammal using somatic cells. The pair were produced from a nuclear transfer of fetal monkey cells, which differs from traditional cloning techniques of splitting an embryo, which can produce a few copies. Somatic cell nuclear transfer, however, can create infinite clones from a single donor by taking the nucleus from one cell and inserting it into an egg. Primates are often used as human substitutes, and while human clones are not feasible yet, the successful birth of the macaque clones—who will continue to be monitored—mean we're closer than ever.