Chinese scientists said they have broken technical barriers in the field of science by cloning monkeys for the first time, Reuters reported on Thursday. Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Neuroscience in Shanghai said they used the same technique that was used to produce Dolly, the sheep, 20 years ago.

“Humans are primates,” Muming Poo, who helped supervise the programme at the institute, told reporters during a conference call. “So [for] the cloning of primate species, including humans, the technical barrier is now broken. The reason ... we broke this barrier is to produce animal models that are useful for medicine, for human health. There is no intention to apply this method to humans.”

The monkeys, Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua, are two identical long-tailed macaques who were born eight and six weeks ago, respectively. Scientists cloned them from a non-embryonic cell through a process called somatic cell nuclear transfer, Reuters reported. The process involves transferring the nucleus of a cell, which includes its DNA, into an egg that has had its nucleus removed.