A Green Light for Transgenes

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Science  01 Feb 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5556, pp. 761
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5556.761j

Silencing of retroviral sequences during embryonic development is believed to be a developmental safeguard against uncontrolled expansion of these parasites. However, this shut-off of gene expression has represented a major obstacle for scientists trying to create transgenic animals. Lois et al. (p. 868) have shown that transgenic mice and rats can be generated at high frequencies by infection of single-cell embryos with recombinant lentiviral vectors. The transgene (in this case, green fluorescent protein) was expressed at high levels and could be made tissue-specific by coupling it to an appropriate promoter. The transgene was transmitted through the germ line to the next generation. Although it is not proposed that this approach replace other methods, it may be especially useful for quickly and inexpensively developing many transgenic lines and for other species in which pronuclear injection or other methods have not worked.

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