Cloning, the Return of an Old Controversy

Featured Cloning, the Return of an Old Controversy

For the first time in the history of science, Chinese scientists managed to clone two primates, mammals that until now resisted such a technique.

The scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Neuroscience, in Shanghai, changed the technique used in Dolly the sheep to create a theoretically limitless number of clones, a method called somatic cell nuclear transfer, which allows the development of identical clones from a cell of a sole individual.

The researchers, who published the results in the journal Cell, said that using this technique to raise primates is a breakthrough for biomedical research, since it will provide accurate genetic copies of the same animal and reduce the variability in the results when new drugs or other therapies are tested, hence, researches as those on cancer, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's could benefit from the initiative, since primates are more genetically similar to humans than mice.

The team affirmed that the novel technique will not be used in humans, however, it triggered the fearful reaction of the scientific community and the opposition of organizations for animal protection.

Although a group of species have been already cloned, this new cloning arouses again the controversy on this issue, because even though the cloned monkeys are long-tailed macaques it raised the question of whether this represents a previous step to the cloning of humans.

Russian Airline Plane Crashes Killing All 71 on Board

A Saratov Airlines passenger plane crashed into a field a short time after it had taken off from the Domodedovo airport in Moscow. Officials say there are no survivors.

A major plane crash just outside of Moscow has left all 71 crew and passengers dead upon impact.

A Saratov Airlines passenger plane crashed into a field in Ramenski a short time after it had taken off from the Domodedovo airport in Moscow on its way to the city of Orsk some 1,500km from the capital. The pilot of the AN-148 short-haul aircraft lost contact with radio control two minutes before it hit the ground. The crew did not send out any distress signal prior to the accident.

The impact left human remains and debris scattered throughout the snow-covered field where the plane went down. The Russian Investigative Committee says there’s no chance of finding survivors.

Russian officials say they are investigating what caused the plane to fall, mainly taking into consideration human error, weather conditions, and the technical status of the eight-year-old craft. Outside temperatures hovered around negative 5 degrees Celsius at the time of the crash early this morning.

"The debris of the plane are spread over a radius of at least one kilometer. Investigators are using modern investigative equipment taking into consideration the large territory. They are using quadcopters to get a view from the air," Svetlana Petrenko of the investigatory committee told the press.

An emergency service official said the government is “verifying (eyewitness) testimonies” of the crash to help in the investigation.

The plane had carried 65 passengers and six Saratov Airlines crew members.

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