Crop Biotech Update

Studies on Transgenic Domestic Cat Help Understand AIDS

September 15, 2011

Studies on domestic cats have helped scientists understand various physiological and genetic characteristics of animals, which includes the mammalian cerebral cortex. Thus, practical capability for transgenesis of cats is important to realize the distinctive potential on this neurobehaviorally complex, accessible species for advancing the health of both humans and cat.

For instance, both humans and cats can be afflicted with AIDS viruses that are susceptible to species-specific restriction factors. Pimprapar Wongsrikeao from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, USA, and other researchers introduced genes encoding a restriction factor. For the first time, the method of establishing gamete-targeted transgenesis was used in a carnivore. Their findings showed that there were no uniformly transgenic outcomes, widespread expression, no mosaicism and no F1 silencing. Transgenic cat white blood cells resisted replication of feline immunodeficiency virus.

This capability to experimentally manipulate the genome of an AIDS-susceptible species can be used to test the potential of restriction factors for HIV gene therapy and to build models of other infectious and noninfectious diseases.

Read the research article at http://www.nature.com/nmeth/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nmeth.1703.html.