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A rhesus monkey

"Rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta mulatta), male, Gokarna"
by Charles J. Sharp is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.
[The clone is a hybrid of M. mulatta and M. 

Chinese researchers have cloned the first rhesus monkey, a species which is widely used in medical research because its physiology is similar to humans.

They say they could speed up drug testing, as genetically identical animals give like-for-like results, providing greater certainty in trials.

Previous attempts to clone a rhesus have either not led to births or the offspring have died a few hours later. 

One animal welfare group has said it is "deeply concerned" by the development.

In mammals, sexual reproduction leads to offspring made up of a mixture of genes from their father and mother. In cloning, techniques are used to create a genetically identical copy of a single animal.

The most famous cloned animal, Dolly the sheep, was created in 1996. Scientists reprogrammed a cell from another sheep to turn them into embryos which are building block cells that can grow into any part...