Transgenic monkey conducive to the study of Huntington’s disease

Anthony Chan spent two years, for the first time the use of human genes by gene mutation method bred five monkeys used to study Huntington’s disease.



Primate marmoset is the most suitable means of genetic editing subjects

Anthony Chan spent two years, for the first time the use of human genes by gene mutation method bred five monkeys used to study Huntington’s disease. However, according to the 2008 report, in which three monkeys showed severe symptoms of Huntington’s disease, the incidence rate is much faster than expected, had less than a month after birth when it was the end of life. As for generating virus genes in vivo in experimental subjects were randomly for additional copy, it would increase the experimental object’s condition, which highlights the use of animal disease models to study defects.

Chan is the U.S. city of Atlanta, Georgia, Emory University, a geneticist, and now he and scientists around the world are watching a precise gene editing technology development, namely through viral enzymes and RNA rather than to solve a series of questions. A lot of people have high expectations on this matter, I hope transgenic mice are more real than the monkeys to mimic human genetic condition, in order to better create the conditions for drug development and testing. Many people said the primate experiments will accelerate basic research in neuroscience, brain, allowing researchers to draw maps, detection of complex neural circuits. “This is something we’ve never thought of.” Chan said.

Next month, La Jolla, California, Salk Institute for Biological city will host a seminar, when molecular biologists, bio-engineers and neuroscientists will discuss how to solve a series of problems within the field. “These studies have great potential.” Neurobiology Laboratory Salk Institute calculated responsible Terrence Sejnowski said.

Neuroscientists have been eager to cultivate genetically modified monkey. Due to lack of awareness and the complexity of primate social skills, such as autism, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease processes can not be fully realized replication in mice.

However, researchers have been tested in mice perseverance, mainly because there is a target gene editing tools can play a role in vivo. It relies on extremely rare spontaneous DNA exchange activities in order to change or turn off certain genes. Mouse stem cell maintenance and low cost screening, sexual maturation cycle is very short, but also reproduce many offspring. Salk Institute neuroscientist Edward Callaway said: “Using mice as subjects much cheaper than using monkeys.”

However, thanks to efficient gene editing technology, researchers can carry out one by one embryo transformation. Therefore, the use of monkeys as subjects as possible. One way is to use a zinc finger nuclease gene region to be guided to a specific track, and the gene to be cut so that researchers can interfere with its function, or replaced by an external DNA. Another method called CRISPR, use a special DNA fragment of DNA cleaving enzyme to boot, so that it can play a role in the designated area. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Synthetic biologists Feng Zhang in May shows CRISPR works: it can be a variety of genes in mouse embryos precise mutation. Zhang that the approach is to use the monkey model of the human brain disorder problems paved the way for the human brain disorders is also affected by many genes.

MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Science leader Robert Desimone said: “Now, in primates for experiments as possible, this is unprecedented, we can try some on them can be used to treat diseases associated with gene methods. ”

MIT researchers are working with the Oregon National Primate Research Center, co-investigator on the CRISPR in monkeys to test the effect on the fertilized egg. They will make the gene loses its original function studies as a start. MIT neuroscientist Guoping Feng (Zhang colleague one) intends to conduct a gene called SHANK3 interfere with some of this gene on human cases of autism. Zhang said, if you want to carry out more complex genetic transformation, for example with a different gene exchange, but also need more research and design.

Zhang added, CRISPR may eventually be used to label specific neuron types monkeys, or by the light of these neurons to control, but scientists have now able to use the same method to control rat neurons. Neuroscientists particular hope that these new methods can be successful. Over the past 10 years, scientists have begun to use genetic tools to stimulate, inhibit or record neural activity in mice and flies, New York University researcher Anthony Movshon monkey vision has been maintained to this concern. But he believes that in some important areas of neuroscience, such as cognition, attention, memory, and decisiveness, the mice and flies do not have high research value.

These new developments and exciting, but it is however an accompanying monkey research is becoming increasingly difficult. Suffer from the pressure of animal rights activists, United Airlines announced in January to stop shipping monkeys for research, which means that the last one in North America to allow the airline to transport primate researcher closed the door. Massachusetts, New England Primate Research Center, also in April announced that it would gradually bring the center of the animals transported to other research institutions, will then completely shut down.

Although controversial, some researchers still believe in exploring cure brain diseases and explore how neurons generate awareness, research using transgenic monkeys may be the best approach.Movshon said: “The researchers hope to work with experimental models to explore issues coincide, if using mice do not fit on them is unethical conduct research.”

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