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J Biotechnol. 2002 Sep 25;98(2-3):145-60.

The methods to generate transgenic animals and to control transgene expression.

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  • 1Biologie du Développement et Biotechnologies, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, 78352 Jouy en JosasCedex, France.


Transgenic animals have been used for years to study gene function and to create models for the study of human diseases. This approach has become still more justified after the complete sequencing of several genomes. Transgenic animals are ready to become industrial bioreactors for the preparation of pharmaceuticals in milk and probably in the future in egg white. Improvement of animal production by transgenesis is still in infancy. Despite its intensive use, animal transgenesis is still suffering from technical limitations. The generation of transgenics has recently become easier or possible for different species thanks to the use of transposons or retrovirus, to incubation of sperm which DNA followed by fertilization by intracellular sperm injection or not and to the use of the cloning technique using somatic cells in which genes have been added or inactivated. The Cre-LoxP system is more and more used to withdraw a given sequence from the genome or to target the integration of a foreign DNA. The tetracycline system has been improved and can more and more frequently be used to obtain faithful expression of transgenes. Several tools: RNA forming a triple helix with DNA, antisense RNA including double strand RNA inducing RNA interference and ribozymes, and also expression of proteins having a negative transdominant effect, are tentatively being improved to inhibit specifically the expression of host or viral genes.All these techniques are expected to offer experimenters new and more precise models to study gene function even in large animals. Improvement of breeding by transgenesis has become more plausible including through the precise allele replacement in farm animals.

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