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Methods. 2009 Sep;49(1):78-84. doi: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2009.05.007. Epub 2009 May 23.

Generation of transgenic monkeys with human inherited genetic disease.

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  • 1Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, Rm. 2212 Neuroscience Bldg., 954 Gatewood Rd., N.E., Atlanta, GA 30329, USA. achan@genetics.emory.edu


Modeling human diseases using nonhuman primates including chimpanzee, rhesus, cynomolgus, marmoset and squirrel monkeys has been reported in the past decades. Due to the high similarity between nonhuman primates and humans, including genome constitution, cognitive behavioral functions, anatomical structure, metabolic, reproductive, and brain functions; nonhuman primates have played an important role in understanding physiological functions of the human body, clarifying the underlying mechanism of human diseases, and the development of novel treatments for human diseases. However, nonhuman primate research has been restricted to cognitive, behavioral, biochemical and pharmacological approaches of human diseases due to the limitation of gene transfer technology in nonhuman primates. The recent advancement in transgenic technology that has led to the generation of the first transgenic monkey in 2001 and a transgenic monkey model of Huntington's disease (HD) in 2008 has changed that focus. The creation of transgenic HD monkeys that replicate key pathological features of human HD patients further suggests the crucial role of nonhuman primates in the future development of biomedicine. These successes have opened the door to genetic manipulation in nonhuman primates and a new era in modeling human inherited genetic disorders. We focused on the procedures in creating transgenic Huntington's disease monkeys, but our work can be applied to transgenesis in other nonhuman primate species.

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