Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

{ action.text }

Fluorescent feet: These monkeys inherited a genetic modification that makes them glow (insets) under ultraviolet light.

Glowing Monkeys
Primates pass a ­fluorescence gene to their offspring.

Source: “Generation of transgenic non-human primates with germline transmission”
Erika Sasaki, Hiroshi Suemizu, et al.
Nature
459: 523-527

Results: Scientists transferred a gene derived from jellyfish into marmoset monkeys, causing them to produce a protein that makes them glow green. The monkeys then passed the gene for the fluorescent protein to their offspring, which glow as well.

Why it matters: Genetically engineered mice have become common and vital tools for biomedical research. Now it’s possible, for the first time, to make genetically engineered strains of primates. Scientists could use the modified animals to study neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s, which cannot be adequately reproduced in rodents.

Methods: To create the transgenic monkeys, researchers injected a virus carrying the gene for green fluorescent protein, or GFP, into 91 marmoset embryos. Eighty healthy transgenic embryos were then transplanted into surrogate mothers, which gave birth to five glowing offspring. Three glowing second-generation marmosets have been born since April.

Next steps: The researchers are further refining their approach to deliver larger pieces of DNA and to block the action of specific genes. Both techniques will be necessary to develop marmoset models of human disease.

0 comments about this story. Start the discussion »

Credit: Nature, 2009

Tagged: Biomedicine

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me