Genetic modification of large animals just got easier

Edward Willett @ 21-09-2007

Diagram illustrating the process of gene therapyEfforts to genetically modify large animals have been hindered by the fact that the two methods currently used to effect it, somatic cell nuclear transfer or pronuclear injection, are costly, inefficient, difficult, and carry a risk of producing abnormal offspring. Now researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine have successfully produced genetically modified mice and goats by transferring modified genetic information via a harmless virus to male reproductive cells, which then passed the modification on naturally to about 10 percent of the offspring. In other words, genetic modification via gene therapy.

Of course, using this technique on humans in combination with in-vitro fertilization and careful weeding of the resulting embryos in order to create a genetically modified super race with abilities surpassing normal humans’ would be completely illegal and unethical, and only a deranged science fiction writer such as myself whose next book features genetically modified humans would even think of it as a possibility.

So, no worries.

(Via PhysOrg.)

(Illustration from Wikimedia Commons.)

[tags]genetics, gene therapy, genetic modification[/tags]

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2 Responses to “Genetic modification of large animals just got easier”

  1. Liz says:

    Very cool indeed, but it presumably has the limitation that you can only get in as much DNA as you can parcel into the adenovirus vector, which is far less than you can put in by either of the two more costly methods. So getting all the necessary genes in to build yourself a superhuman would take a while.

  2. JJ says:

    As the necessary genes would take a while to insert, the scientists could make it more precise [selection of genes to insert.] It would seem, that would allow for a more direct effect from each viral injection.

    If that made any sense, it would mean the new superhuman would be realized sooner than later.