WIKIMEDIA, ERIC BAJARTA female cynomolgus monkey born with mutations in her methyl-CpG binding protein 2 gene (MECP2) represents the first non-human primate model produced through transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs), a gene-editing technique. The results, published February 13 in Cell Stem Cell, follow on the heels of a study demonstrating the ability of the CRISPR/Cas9 method to produce genomically edited monkeys.

Up until these two latest developments, transgenic monkeys had only come about through virus-mediated gene transfer. TALENs bind to and snip DNA at a specified point in the genome, allowing for targeted mutagenesis. In this case, researchers designed TALEN sequences to introduce mutations in MECP2 and delivered them into monkey zygotes. Several pregnancies failed, but one female monkey born with the mutations is now several months old.

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