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September 04, 2008

Transgenic Genetic Engineering

A transgenic animal is one that carries a foreign gene that has been deliberately inserted into its genome. (Usually from another animal.)

Two methods of producing transgenic mice are widely used:

- transforming embryonic stem cells (ES cells) growing in tissue culture with the desired DNA;
- injecting the desired gene into the pronucleus of a fertilized mouse egg.

There are transgenic mice, goats, cows, pigs, monkeys and other animals.

Goats have been modified to produce spider silk in their goat milk.

Rhesese macaques have received two transplants of embryonic pancreatic cells and this research could lead to a human cure for diabetes

There could be risks for new diseases that result from this work.

There are many potential benefits from more environmentally friendly agriculture, disease cures and lower costs for production of many useful substances.

Transgenic fish (salmon) grow faster and could solve problems feeding the world's population

Chinese scientists have successfully bred a genetically altered cow capable of producing cancer-curing proteins for human beings. Antibodies could be 50 to 100 times cheaper using the transgenic cows.

The U.S. based Business Communication Corp. has estimated the worldwide market for transgenically sourced therapies at more than $1 billion in 2008, and $18.6 billion by 2013.

This large industry is supporting the work to constantly improve the processes (efficiency, safety and costs) of genetic engineering which will likely ultimately lead to transgenic people.

Possible future: genetically engineered for endurance of an Alaskan sled dog, cheetah like speed, gorilla strength, regeneration and then add a DARPA exoskeleton for kangaroo leap and even more strength.


Transgenic animals benefit humanity

- agriculture, such as larger sheep that grow more wool
- medicine, such as cows that produce insulin in their milk
- industry, such as goats that produce spider silk for materials production


FURTHER READING
Researchers Develop First Transgenic Monkey Model of Huntington’s Disease: Experts See Model as Tool to Better Understand the Disease, Develop More Effective Therapies, and Lead the Way to Similar Models for Other Genetic Diseases

A transgenic pig is model for testing Alzheimer's

Transgenic animals are discussed at wikipedia.

Genetically modified organisms at wikipedia.

Gene therapy speeds transgenic animal production.

Frequently asked questions about transgenic fish.
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