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First genetically modified monkey, reported in Science, may promise medical advances for humans

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A baby monkey carrying an extra bit of DNA--described in the 12 January 2001 issue of the journal, Science--may suggest a way to speed new treatments for a host of disabling human conditions, from diabetes and breast cancer to Parkinson's and HIV.

Named ANDi, backwards for "inserted DNA," the active, healthy rhesus monkey received an extra gene while he was still an unfertilized egg, making him the world's first genetically modified non-human primate.

Born on 2 October, 2000, "ANDi is robust and plays normally with his two roommates," reported Science author Gerald Schatten of the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center at the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, Oregon.

ANDi's modified DNA consists only of a simple marker gene, designed to be easily identified within his genetic blueprint. But, the same modification method should lead to other laboratory animals carrying genes associated with specific medical conditions, Schatten said.

"We could just as easily introduce, for example, an Alzheimer's gene, to accelerate the development of a vaccine for that disease," said Schatten, who last year reported the first monkey successfully cloned by embryo splitting (see Science, 14 January 2000). "In this way, we hope to bridge the scientific gap between transgenic mice and humans. We could also get better answers from fewer animals, while accelerating the discovery of cures through molecular medicine."

The latest experiment, by lead Science author Anthony W.S. Chan, Scha
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Contact: Ginger Pinholster
gpinhols@aaas.org
202-326-6421
American Association for the Advancement of Science
11-Jan-2001


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