Japanese researchers have genetically engineered monkeys whose hair roots, skin and blood glow green under a special light, and who have passed on their traits to their offspring, the first time this has been achieved in a primate.
They spliced a jellyfish gene into common marmosets, and said on Wednesday they hope to use their colony of glowing animals to study human Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS.
Erika Sasaki and Hideyuki Okano of the Keio University School of Medicine in Japan used a virus to carry the gene for green fluorescent protein into monkey embryos, which were implanted into a female monkey, and four out of five were born with the gene throughout their bodies.
One fathered a healthy baby that also carried the new genes, they reported in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.
"The birth of this transgenic marmoset baby is undoubtedly a milestone," stem cell expert Dr. Gerald Schatten, of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and Shoukhrat Mitalipov, of Oregon Health and Sciences University, wrote in a commentary in Nature.
"Transgenic marmosets are potentially useful models for research into infectious diseases, immunology and neurological disorders, for example," they wrote.
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