Editing of Targeted Genes Proved Possible in Monkeys

Liz is a staff writer for Science.

Using a recently developed genome-editing technique called CRISPR, a Chinese team has successfully altered two target genes in cynomolgus monkeys, paving the way for the development of monkey models that mimic human diseases. This is the first evidence that CRISPR can work in primates and represents a big advance over previous successes in genetically modifying monkeys, in which genes were inserted randomly into the genome. Only two of the three target genes were modified, and not all cells carry the same modification, indicating more work needs to be done to perfect the timing of the modification. Beyond its significance for biomedical research, the new work raises the possibility that CRISPR will one day be used to change the genetic makeup of human embryos.

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Posted in Biology