Gene edited primates are nothing new. (Credit: Pixabay)

Researchers have for the first time, used gene-editing tools in adult monkeys to disable a gene throughout much of the liver.

Science reports that the approach actually lowered blood cholesterol levels, suggesting a treatment for heart disease. In addition, the study could pave way for treating certain genetic diseases caused by defective, havoc-causing protein. 

Although not being involved in the study, cardiologist and geneticist Kiran Musunruru of the University of Pennsylvania was impressed by the work.

“…One of the first demonstrations of gene-editing tools used with high efficiency in nonhuman primates,” he said. 

Gene edited primates are nothing new, however. 

Due to their similarities to humans, monkeys are increasingly being used in China to study human disease, with the first ever monkey cloned early this year. 

More controversially, researchers have used CRISPR to repair a disease-causing gene in early human embryos, where the embryo was not allowed to develop, which caused turmoil in the scientific community.