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Gene targeting, genome editing: from Dolly to editors

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-287
JournalTransgenic Research
Issue number3
Early online date3 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016


One of the most powerful strategies to investigate biology we have as scientists, is the ability to transfer genetic material in a controlled and deliberate manner between organisms. When applied to livestock, applications worthy of commercial venture can be devised. Although initial methods used to generate transgenic livestock resulted in random transgene insertion, the development of SCNT technology enabled homologous recombination gene targeting strategies to be used in livestock. Much has been accomplished using this approach. However, now we have the ability to change a specific base in the genome without leaving any other DNA mark, with no need for a transgene. With the advent of the genome editors this is now possible and like other significant technological leaps, the result is an even greater diversity of possible applications. Indeed, in merely 5 years, these 'molecular scissors' have enabled the production of more than 300 differently edited pigs, cattle, sheep and goats. The advent of genome editors has brought genetic engineering of livestock to a position where industry, the public and politicians are all eager to see real use of genetically engineered livestock to address societal needs. Since the first transgenic livestock reported just over three decades ago the field of livestock biotechnology has come a long way-but the most exciting period is just starting.

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