Cloning monkeys is a step backwards for medical research
Published on January 24, 2019
Animal Free Research UK is deeply disappointed by today’s news that yet more monkeys are being needlessly cloned for medical experiments.
Researchers in China have caused severe suffering to monkeys by genetically removing some of their healthy genes to cause them sleep deprivation, anxiety, depression and behaviours resembling schizophrenia. The most traumatised monkeys could then be cloned to create more distressed animals to be experimented on.
Human diseases like schizophrenia and depression are caused by a multitude of complex factors, not the single genetic alteration that has been inflicted on these monkeys.
Carla Owen, Chief Executive of Animal Free Research UK says, “Cloning monkeys is a step backwards for medical research. It is ludicrous to imagine that monkeys who have been artificially inflicted with the basic symptoms of complex human diseases, and then experimented on, will respond in the same way as human patients. There is no justification for deliberately causing a life of suffering to these monkeys who feel pain, just as we do.”
Dr Hazel Jackson, Science Director at Animal Free Research UK says, “There are many forward-thinking ways of conducting medical research rather than experimenting on intelligent monkeys. The best way to improve treatments for human patients is with human-relevant research. Animal Free Research UK funds scientists who are pioneering research into human diseases and making ground-breaking discoveries for human patients because they do not experiment on animals.”
- Zhen Liu et al.; Cloning of a Gene-edited macaque monkey by somatic cell nuclear transfer, National Science Review. [advanced-article]
- Peiyuan Qiu et al.; BMAL1 knockout macaque monkeys display reduced sleep and psychiatric disorders, National Science Review. [advanced-article]