One Monkey from Two Mothers

The next time one of your animal-loving friends yaps on about animals being used for science research (as being evil or whatever the reason is), tell them that necessary healthcare benefits are being made for humans. 

Like for example, work being done at Oregon Health Science University (OHSU) right now.  Scientists were able to produce monkeys with genetic material from two mothers.  Now, that alone sounds scary, ethically questionable, sort of Island of Dr. Moreau. 

But!  But!  You have to understand the process and implications for this research.  Researchers “developed a way to replace most of the genes in the eggs of one rhesus macaque monkey with genes from another monkey. They then fertilized the eggs with sperm, transferred the resulting embryos into animals’ wombs and produced four apparently healthy offspring.”

The technique was developed for women who have disorders caused by defects in a form of DNA passed only from females to their children, and the researchers said they hope the work will eventually translate into therapies for people.

“We believe this technique can be applied pretty quickly to humans and believe it will work,” said Shoukhrat Mitalipov of the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, who led the work, published online Wednesday by the journal Nature.

Women would be able to give birth to healthy offspring without the fear of passing along genetic diseases.  Are you telling me that this isn’t important and cool and worth a few monkeys?

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