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Genetic Engineering

Researchers Produce First Functional Transgenic Placentas

16 years, 12 months ago

2925  0
Posted on Sep 22, 2002, 12 p.m. By Bill Freeman

In an experiment that seems to be straight out of a science fiction novel, researchers have successfully created transgenic placentas. The researchers inserted a gene taken from a jellyfish into the fertilised egg of a rhesus monkey, creating a placenta in which the inserted gene functions in the same way that it normally does in the jellyfish.

In an experiment that seems to be straight out of a science fiction novel, researchers have successfully created transgenic placentas. The researchers inserted a gene taken from a jellyfish into the fertilised egg of a rhesus monkey, creating a placenta in which the inserted gene functions in the same way that it normally does in the jellyfish. The gene that the team inserted causes jellyfish cells to glow green; subsequently the cells of the transgenic placenta also exhibited the property. The study is the first in which a gene that has been inserted into a primate embryo has been shown to be functional throughout development to a successful live birth. Furthermore, it also demonstrates that a successful pregnancy is possible when foreign genes are transferred into the embryo of a non-human primate. The researchers say that their findings will help scientists to determine the role that individual genes have in diseases and problems that occur during pregnancy.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2001; 98: 0728-1073

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