More Monkeys With Edited Genomes

Researchers use the TALEN genome-editing technique to generate a primate model of Rett syndrome.  

kerry grens
Kerry Grens

Kerry served as The Scientist’s news director until 2021. Before joining The Scientist in 2013, she was a stringer for Reuters Health, the senior health and science reporter at...

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Feb 14, 2014

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.

Girls with Rett syndrome—which only affects females—develop motor and speech problems and autism-like characteristics. There is currently no...

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More Monkeys With Edited Genomes

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