Edinburgh Research Explorer

Development of Germline Manipulation Technologies in Livestock

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationApplications of Gene-Based Technologies for Improving Animal Production and Health in Developing Countries
Editors Harinder P.S. Makkar, Gerrit J. Viljoen
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Pages99-109
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4020-3312-4
ISBN (Print)978-1-4020-3311-7
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Abstract

Genetic improvement by conventional breeding is restricted to those genetic loci present in the parental breeding individuals. Gene addition through transgenic technology offers a route to overcome this restriction. The transgene can be introduced into the germ cells or the fertilized zygote, using viral vectors, by simple co-culture or direct micro-injection. Alternatively, the transgene can be incorporated into a somatic cell, which is then incorporated into a developing embryo. This latter approach allows gene-targeting strategies to be employed. Using pronuclear injection methods, transgenic livestock have been generated with the aim of enhancing breeding traits of agricultural importance, or for biomedical applications. Neither has been taken beyond the development phase. Before they are, in addition to issues of commercial development, basic technological issues addressing inefficiency and complexity of the methodology need to be overcome, and appropriate gene targets identified. At the moment, perhaps the most encouraging development involves the use of viral vectors that offer increased simplicity and efficiency. By combining this new technology with transgenes that evoke the powerful intracellular machinery involved in RNA interference, pioneering applications to generate animals that are less susceptible to infectious disease may be possible.

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