China's recent monkey cloning experiment has provoked outrage and has been classified as "monstrous" by animal welfare officers.
Researchers from the Institute of Neuroscience at the Chinese Academy of Sciences have cloned five monkey babies from a single donor with genes whose genes were pathogenic.
The Chinese scientists tinkered with a specific gene from the original donor monkey to produce the unhealthy animals that they claim to help medical research.
The gene is BMAL1
The researchers said the monkeys had increased anxiety and depression, reduced sleep times, and even "schizophrenia-like behaviors." "According to a couple of articles published by the scientists in the National Science Review .
All five macaques were born with identical genes, including the mutation.
"The Disruption of Circadian Rhythm Could Lead To many human diseases, including sleep disorders, diabetic mellitus, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases, our BMAL1 knock-out monkeys could be used to study the pathogenesis of the disease as well as therapeutic treatments." said Hung-Chun Chang, senior author and investigator of the Institute of Neuroscience of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in a statement.
The researchers used a cloning technique known as somatic cell nuclear transfer to create the fiv e Macaques, the same method with which they produced the first two cloned monkeys last year.
It's also the same general method used to clone the sheep Dolly more than two decades ago.
Cloning experiment The two healthy monkeys reported in the journal Cell last January also caused concern among the broader scientific community.
"The geniuses are now out of the bottle," said Jose Cibelli, a clone expert at Michigan State University in the US.
For advocated animal rights, the latest experiment was added. Dr. PETA UK Science Policy Adviser Julia Baines said, "Genetically manipulating and subsequently cloning animals is an immense practice that makes animals suffer."
In June, however, she spoke to news.com.au, director of the Chinese The Institute of Neuroscience of the Academy of Sciences and co-author of the latest work, Dr. med. Mu-ming Poo, defended the practice of using cloned animals for medical research.
"More cloned monkeys will be produced soon," he said. "Some of them carry gene mutations that are known to cause human brain disorders to generate useful monkey models for the development and treatment of drugs."
It is important to note that primates share about 95 percent of human genes and a number of genes. With physiological and anatomical similarities, biomedical research currently uses a large number of monkeys, sometimes up to 100,000 annually.
"This number is greatly reduced by the use of monkeys with a consistent genetic background that reduces the noise in experimental studies," said Dr. Poo, pointing to the example of testing the efficacy of drugs before clinical trials.
"This will greatly help the ethical use of nonhuman primates for biomedical purposes.
The team behind the recent experiment reiterated this position in this week's statement stating that the institute follows stringent international guidelines for animal research.
The gene-edited monkey clone He announced to a rogue Chinese scientist he announced that he had used CRISPR technology to create the world's first genetically engineered infants.
The controversial physician made headlines last November after claiming he had altered human embryos genetically modified for birth Genes would have led twin girls.
This story originally appeared in news.com.au.