Transgenic Animals

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Chapter: Biochemistry : Biotechnology and Human Disease

Transgenic animals can be produced by injecting a cloned gene into the fertilized egg.


TRANSGENIC ANIMALS

Transgenic animals can be produced by injecting a cloned gene into the fertilized egg. If the gene becomes successfully integrated into a chromosome, it will be present in the germline of the resulting animal and can be passed along from generation to generation. A giant mouse called “Supermouse” was produced in this way by injecting the gene for rat growth hormone into a fertilized mouse egg. [Note: Transgenic animals have been designed that produce human proteins in their milk. Antithrombin, an anticlotting protein, was produced by transgenic goats and approved for clinical use in 2009 (see online Chapter 34).] Sometimes, rather than introducing a functional gene into a mouse, a nonfunctional version is inserted. Such genetically engineered animals can be used to produce a colony of “knockout mice” that lack the product of the affected gene. Such animals can then serve as models for the study of a corresponding human disease. [Note: Knock-in mice result if the inserted gene expresses a mutated product or under- or overexpresses a product.]

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