World's first cloned monkey marks first birthday

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Zhong Zhong, the world's first cloned monkey, had its first birthday on Tuesday.

Two cloned macaques named Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua are held by a nurse at the non-human-primate research facility under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in Suzhou, east China's Jiangsu province, Jan. 22, 2018. [Photo: Xinhua/Jin Liwang]

The healthy primate is living with another cloned monkey named Hua Hua at the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Neuroscience in the city of Suzhou, according to Shanghai Observer.

Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua are clones created by scientists at the institute using somatic cell nuclear transfer, which was the same technique used to create the world's first cloned animal, Dolly the Sheep.

"The purpose of cloning monkeys is to produce animal models that are helpful for medical research and human health", said Sun Qiang, the director of nonhuman primate research at the institute.

One of the next major milestones in the research will come in three to four years time, when scientists will learn if the pair have the ability to reproduce.

Authorities in China have said they have no plans to allow human cloning following the success of the monkey experiments.

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