Monkeying with monkey genes

Dohduhdah [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons

Advances in genome-editing techniques have enabled researchers to create specific genetic modifications in laboratory animals such as mice, rats, fruit flies and zebrafish. This is often done to create models of human diseases that can be studied to learn about their etiology, pathology and mechanisms and to test potential therapeutic strategies. But many human diseases can be appropriately modeled only in primates, and, until recently, genome editing in primates has been largely unsuccessful as well as prohibitively expensive, with the only reported successes in generating transgenic primates achieved by using the technique of virus-mediated gene transfer. The viral vector strategy lacks the efficiency and precision required for broad utility, however. Now, researchers led by Weizhi Ji of the Yunnan Key Laboratory of Primate Biomedical Research (Kunming, China) have successfully applied two advanced genome-editing techniques in monkeys, producing cynomolgus macaques with targeted genomic modifications.

Lab Anim. (NY) 43, 112 (2014).
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