done to small pieces of human organs grown in the lab, and used to test drugs, or to monitor the progress of serious diseases. Nelson Freimer, director of the centre for neurobehavioural genetics at the University of California in Los Angeles, said that while researchers often use mice to study human diseases, brain disorders are particularly hard to recreate in the animals because their brains are sodifferent."People have been looking for primate models for a whole list of diseases, but in the past it's been either completely unfeasible, or incredibly expensive. This is saying we can do thisrelatively inexpensively and quickly, and that is a major advance," said Freimer.But Freimer added that the use of monkeys was likely to remain a last resort. "It's going to bereally critical to define the problems for which this is used, just as you always do with animalresearch. You want to use all the alternatives before you propose animal research. This will bereserved for terrible diseases for which it offers hope that cannot be gotten any other way," hesaid.Tipu Aziz, who has used primates in his work on Parkinson's disease at Oxford University,welcomed the new procedure. "If we can identify genes for neurological disorders in a clinicalsetting and transpose those into a monkey it would be of massive benefit. I don't know that it'lllead to a rise in the use of monkeys, but it will lead to more focused studies," he said.Robin Lovell-Badge, head of genetics at the MRC's National Institute for Medical Research inLondon, said that genetically modified monkeys could be valuable to check new therapies before they are tried in humans. "Mice are fantastic models for some aspects of human physiology, but they are not always perfect, and it's good to have alternatives," he said. "If youare trying to develop a stem cell therapy and want to graft cells back into the brain, it's difficultto know how it will work in a complex brain, and mice or rats are not suitable." With Crispr,scientists could perform far more subtle genetic tweaks than is possible with other methods, headded.