In simple terms transgenics is the transfer of specific genes from one organism to another by the process of gene splicing which requires a vector for the transfer of the desired gene from the host to the recipient.
The main objectives of gene transfer includes the study on promoter function, reporter gene expression, regulation of gene expression, functions of transferred genes/DNA sequences, improve the production of milk, meat, wool, and also gene therapy.
Gene therapy is the insertion of genes into an individual’s cells and tissues to treat diseases especially hereditary diseases. It does so by replacing a defective mutant allele with a functional one or targeting which involves gene amplification. Transgenics have been produced in a variety of animal species, e.g. mice (including rats), rabbits, swine, goat, cattle, sheep, poultry, fish, amphibians, insects and nematodes.
The different types of vectors used for gene transfer in animals are:
For the direct introduction of DNA into animal cell/embryo (transfection) some techniques are used such as calcium phosphate precipitation, DEAE-dextran mediated transfection, fusion with bacterial protoplasts, direct microinjection, retrovirus infection, lipofection, particle gun delivery and electoporation, also the technique of embryonic stem cell transfer is used often for the production of transgenic mice which is a preferred technique because it permits targeted gene transfer.
Embryonic stem (ES) cells of mice are pluripotent cultured cells derived from early preimplantation embryos, e.g., the inner cell mass of a blastocyst embryo. The production of transgenic animals using ES cell clones may be done either by injection or co-culture method in which the cloned transgenic ES cells are injected into the blastocoel of blastocyst stage embryos or the zona-pellucida of 8-cell to morula stage embryo is removed, and the morula is co-cultured with the ES cells, which is later incorporated into the inner cell mass of the developing embryo respectively. Production and maintenance of ES cell lines capable of giving rise to germ cells is essential for the application of ES cell transfer technology. By far it has only been done in mice.
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