Chinese researchers clone monkeys

Roughly 22 years after the birth of the cloned sheep Dolly, Chinese researchers have now cloned monkeys for the first time ever. The animals were born healthy and have survived the first weeks, the team reports. How far should clone research go?

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La Stampa (IT) /

Accomplices in doom

Cloning technology can never be used for humanitarian purposes, writer Antonio Scurati rails in La Stampa:

“Now the manipulators of creation are all silver-tongued. ... They did it for ethical reasons, they say, to reduce the suffering of animals in future lab experiments. ... But they're lying, because they're appealing to a 'humanitarian' ethical criterion: only human beings care about the living conditions of other species. But in operating on the level of superhuman technicalism they've already put themselves above the principle by which we judge our acts and their positive or negative consequences. ... Any illusions about this turn us into accomplices of the disaster that can and will result from the ruthless power of technology to transform living beings.”

Der Tagesspiegel (DE) /

No reason to panic

Der Tagesspiegel warns against a panicked reaction to China's successful cloning:

“Yes, Macaca fascicularis is a primate, meaning it's more closely related to Homo sapiens than any other mammal that researchers have cloned to date. But no, that does not mean that human cloning is now imminent. 'If anyone were really interested in cloning humans they'd have done it long ago', in the words of Munich geneticist Eckhard Wolf. And what's more, there's no rational reason for cloning humans. Keeping a copy of yourself ready in case you need an organ transplant is at best the stuff of science fiction. It has nothing to do with reality.”

Le Temps (CH) /

Rethink research bans

When ethical concerns stand in the way of clone research scientists will move to other countries, warns Le Temps:

“Insisting on one's point of view is the best way to see research transferred to other countries. This was the case in 2016 when the Professor of neuroscience at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne Grégoire Courtine went to China to conduct a study on monkeys. In Beijing's private laboratories he was received with open arms and he and his team succeeded in making primates whose spinal cords had been severed walk again. His research is engendering immense hope today and no one is considering forbidding it any more.”