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Book chapter2024Peer reviewed

The science behind GM research animals

Jonas, E.; Kornum, A.; Gjerris, M.; Röcklinsberg, H.; Sørensen, D.B.


Animals have been widely used in research to test new methods, procedures or treatments. Methods applied in animal research range widely and include the application of genetic modifications. These methods have been developed since the 1980s and have been widely applied in research animals not only to verify and develop the methodologies but also to test very specific applications of it. Genome editing has increased the interest of genetic modifications even more, as it promises a simpler and faster way to modify the genome. It is applied to a wide range of animal species including farm animals. Genome editing makes use of nucleases and does not need an external gene construct as it has been the case in classical genetic modifications. It instead is based on the self-repair mechanisms of the DNA in the cell, leading to site-directed mutagenesis. While the transformation of the genetic change into the genome is more simple, precise and successful, also genome editing requires the use of advanced reproductive techniques. The success rate of the entire procedure, meaning the survival of the modified animal, however, is still medium to low, depending on the species. Much effort is therefore especially put into the improvement of the success rates of the reproductive techniques, which are required during the modification. There are a number of options of how the methods of genetic modifications are used in the future, including in silico methods. The parallel application of such alternatives as well as improvements of the methods with higher success rates might lead to a significant reduction of animals used in research of genetic modifications.

Published in

Title: Biotech Animals in Research : Ethical and Regulatory Aspects
ISBN: 9781138369214, eISBN: 9780429428845
Publisher: CRC Press