Monkeys pave way for human clone

A Russian-born scientist has helped produce dozens of cloned embryos from a monkey, according to Britain’s Independent newspaper. If true, it will be the first-ever cloning of primates – a key step in producing a human clone.

The research team has also managed to extract stem cells from some of the embryos, the paper said. The cells were made to grow into heart tissue and brain neurons.

Earlier attempts to produce cloned embryos of primates – commonly monkeys, apes and humans – failed, and some scientist believed there was a barrier preventing them from doing it.

Once the new cloning technique is refined, it could be used to mass produce human embryos for research and medical purposes.

Critics point out that the increased efficiency of the technology would make illegal and unethical cloning easier.

The experiments were reportedly carried out at a University in Oregon in the U.S., and led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov, a Russian-born graduate of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences.

The results of the research are due to be officially published later this year.