[This story ran on the Associated Press wire on March 2, 1997.]
WASHINGTON (March 2) -- Scientists in Oregon have produced monkeys from cloned embryos, making the first time a species so closely related to humans has been cloned, The Washington Post reported.
Citing interviews Saturday with scientists, the paper said in Sunday's editions that the Oregon scientists used a technique similar to the one used by Scottish researchers last week to clone a sheep.
It cited experts as saying the Oregon success, which has not yet been announced, adds to a growing body of evidence that there are no insurmountable biological barriers to creating multiple copies of a human being.
"It demands that we take seriously the issue of human closing," Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania, told the Post.
But he said cloning is still far too expensive and results in too many abnormal embryos to be practical for humans, notwithstanding the public outcry over prospects of human cloning.
"You're probably heading down the path to criminal arrest, not the Nobel Prize, if you try this in people," said Caplan.
The Post said two Oregon monkeys born in August were cloned from cells taken from embryos, not an adult monkey -- a crucial difference between them and Dolly, the sheep cloned by Scottish researchers from an adult sheep. The cloned monkeys thus are not genetically identical to any adult monkey.
The Post said lead researcher Don Wolf, a senior scientist at the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center in Beaverton and director of the human in vitro fertilization laboratory at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, said researchers do not plan to produce clones from adult monkeys.
"This is really an effort to see if we can create genetically identical monkeys for research," he said. He explained that fewer carbon-copy research animals would be needed in drug experiments, for example, because their sameness would eliminate much of the genetic differences that confound such experiments.
Researchers told the Post the technique could be used to create eight or more identical monkeys from a single embryo, and that further advances could lead to the ability to make clones of adults as well.
Original file name: CNI - Clone Monkeys
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