5.28.2009

Fluorescent GM monkeys 'could help find Parkinson's cure'

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandtechnology/science/sciencenews/5393751/Fluorescent-GM-monkeys-could-help-find-Parkinsons-cure.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01411/monkey_1411163c.jpg
[This is playing with fire...]
Scientists have genetically modified marmoset monkeys with a fluorescent protein that under ultra violet light makes them glow a vivid green.
And unlike previously developed "transgenic animals" the monkeys are able to pass on their unique ability to their offspring, suggesting it is deeply embedded in its DNA.
[...]
Scientists reported the first transgenic monkeys last year – when they inserted a gene from Huntington's disease.
But in these animals, the gene did not fully integrate into the monkey's own DNA and was not passed down to their offspring.
This time Dr Erika Sasaki, of the Central Institute for Experimental Animals in Kawasaki, and colleagues used a virus to introduce the gene for green fluorescent protein (GFP) into the DNA of the common marmoset Callithrix jacchus.
[...]
Dr Sasaki said: "The common marmoset is increasingly attractive for use as a non-human primate animal model in biomedical research. It has a relatively high reproduction rate for a primate, making it potentially suitable for transgenic modification.
[...]
"In particular, genetically modified primates would be a powerful human disease model for preclinical assessment of the safety and efficacy of stem-cell or gene therapy."
[...]
"Because non-human primates are much closer to humans than mice genetically, the successful creation of transgenic marmosets means that we will have a new animal model to work with," he said.
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