11th ISTT Prize Awardee – Dr. Mario Capecchi

Dr. Mario Capecchi
Dr. Mario Capecchi

 

Houston TX, USA. 26 October, 2016.

The International Society for Transgenic Technologies (ISTT, Inc.) is delighted to announce that the 11th ISTT Prize will be awarded to Dr. Mario Capecchi for his seminal work on homologous recombination in embryonic stem cells, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2007. The ISTT Prize is awarded to investigators who have made outstanding contributions to the field of transgenic technologies. The selection of the 11th ISTT Prize winner, Dr. Capecchi, was made by the ISTT Prize Committee [composed of the ISTT President (Jan Parker-Thornburg), ISTT Vice-president (Benoit Kanzler), and the CEO of genOway (Alexandre Fraichard) (the company that generously sponsors the award), and all previous ISTT prize awardees].

The committee unanimously agreed that Dr. Capecchi’s work was essential for the field of transgenesis, having opened up the field to the possibility of generating exact genetic mutations in the mouse genome. At the time when his discoveries were published, the ability to generate transgenic animals by pronuclear injection had recently been published, and was rapidly becoming an essential method to flesh out how genes would both be regulated, and would function. However, while standard transgenesis could answer many genetic questions, it was still limited, as the gene being interrogated was still intact. To truly make leaps forward, it was essential to specifically mutate that gene, either by removing it (to generate a gene knock-out) or to mutate it (to recapitulate a genetic mutation by knock-in). With the culture and injection of ES cells described by Dr. Martin Evans, it became apparent to Drs. Smithies and Capecchi (all three being co-recipients of the 2007 Nobel prize) that such cells could be used for the introduction of mutations into the genome. Homologous recombination of an exogenous DNA into the exact gene to be replaced can occur in very rare circumstances. In his 1986 Cell publication, Dr. Capecchi showed that 1 in 103 cells in culture would undergo the process using homologous recombination. The following year, Capecchi successfully knocked out the Hprt gene in mouse ES cells and Smithies independently demonstrated repair of the gene. Dr. Capecchi gave the process the name by which we know it today, “gene targeting”. A critical aspect of gene targeting (and one that is still essential today) was that both positive and negative selection processes could be used to identify those cells that had undergone homologous recombination, a process published in 1988 in Nature by Dr. Capecchi.

Dr. Capecchi was born in Verona, Italy in 1937, the only child of an Italian father (lost in WWII) and an American mother (detained in and later released from a Nazi concentration camp). He immigrated to the USA in 1946 with his mother to live in Pennsylvania. After graduation from the George School, he attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs Ohio, USA where he majored in chemistry and physics. He began his graduate work at MIT in physics and mathematics, but after becoming interested in molecular biology, moved to Harvard University to study with James Watson, and changed the course of his career. Dr. Capecchi was on the faculty at Harvard until 1973, when he moved his laboratory to the University of Utah. His seminal work describing gene targeting was performed at that institution. During his extremely productive career, some of the awards that Dr. Capecchi has been given include the Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences (1996), The Premio Phoenix-Anni Verdi for Genetic Research Award, Italy (2000), the 33rd Jiménez-Diaz Prize for Contributions to Medical Genetics, Spain (2001), the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research (2001), and the American Association of Cancer Research Lifetime Achievement Award (2015). He has been elected to the European Academy of Sciences (2002), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2009), the National Academy of Medicine (2015) and has been given honorary doctorate degrees from institutions in Italy, the UK, and Israel. Dr. Capecchi remains an active researcher, with seven research publications in 2015, and six current 2016 publications either printed, submitted, or in press.

We are most pleased that Dr. Capecchi has agreed to receive the ISTT Prize to be given at TT2017, thus joining the list of previously honored scientists, including Janet Rossant (2014), Allan Bradley (2013), Ralph Brinster (2011), Francis Stewart (2010), Brigid Hogan (2008), Charles Babinet (2007), Andras Nagy (2005), Qi Zhou (2004), Kenneth McCreath (2002) and Teruhiko Wakayama (2001). All ISTT Prize winners are given an honorary ISTT membership and a unique silver sculpture representing a mouse blastocyst created by the Hungarian artist Béla Rozsnyay. Dr. Capecchi will receive his prize at the 14th Transgenic Technology Meeting (TT2017) that will be held at the Snowbird Resort outside of Salt Lake City, Utah USA on 1-4 October, 2017.

Selected References from Dr. Capecchi’s lifetime achievements:

Folger, K. R., K. R. Thomas and M. R. Capecchi (1984). Analysis of homologous recombination in cultured mammalian cells. Cold Spring Harbor Symp. Quant. Biol. 49:123-138. PMID: 6099232.

Thomas, K. R., K. R. Folger and M. R. Capecchi (1986). High frequency targeting of genes to specific sites in the mammalian genome. Cell 44:419-428. PMID: 3002636.

Wong, E. A. and M. R. Capecchi (1986). Analysis of homologous recombination in cultured mammalian cells in a transient expression and a stable transformation assay. Somat. Cell Mol. Genet. 12:63-72. PMID: 3003931.

Thomas, K. R., and M. R. Capecchi (1986). Introduction of homologous DNA sequences into mammalian cells induces mutations in the cognate gene. Nature 324:34-38. PMID: 3785372.

Thomas, K. R. and M. R. Capecchi (1986). Targeting of genes to specific sites in the mammalian genome. Cold Spring Harbor Symp. Quant. Biol. 51:1101-1113. PMID: 3472755.

Wong, E. A. and M. R. Capecchi (1987). Homologous recombination between coinjected DNA sequences peaks in early to mid-S phase. Mol. Cell. Biol. 7:2294-2295. PMID: 3600663.

Thomas, K. R. and M. R. Capecchi (1987). Site-directed mutagenesis by gene targeting in mouse embryo-derived stem cells. Cell 51:503-512. PMID: 2822260.

Mansour, S. L., K. R. Thomas and M. R. Capecchi (1988). Disruption of the proto-oncogene int-2 in mouse embryo-derived stem cells: A general strategy for targeting mutations to nonselectable genes. Nature 336:348-352. PMID: 3194019.

Capecchi, M. R. (1989). Altering the genome by homologous recombination. Science 244:1288-1292. PMID: 2660260.

Thomas, K. R., C. Deng and M. R. Capecchi (1992). High-fidelity gene targeting in embryonic stem cells by using sequence replacement vectors. Mol. Cell. Biol. 12:2919-2923. PMID: 1620105.

Deng, C. and M. R. Capecchi (1992). Reexamination of gene targeting frequency as a function of the extent of homology between the targeting vector and the target locus. Mol. Cell. Biol. 12:3365-3371. PMID: 1321331.

Capecchi, M. R. (1995). A personal view of gene targeting. In Accomplishments in Cancer Research 1994. (J. G. Fortner and J. E. Rhoads, Ed.) Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, pp. 67-78.

Capecchi, M. R. (2000). How close are we to implementing gene targeting in animals other than the mouse? Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 97:956-957. PMID: 10655465.

Capecchi, M.R. (2001). Generating mice with targeted mutations. Nature Med. 7:1086-1090. PMID: 11590420.

Austin, C.P., J.F. Battey, A. Bradley, M. Bucan, M.R. Capecchi, F.S. Collins, W.F. Dove, G. Duyk, S. Dymecki, J.T. Eppig, F.B. Grieder, N. Heintz, G. Hicks, T.R. Insel, A. Joyner, B.H. Koller, K.C. Lloyd, T. Magnuson, M.W. Moore, A. Nagy, J.D. Pollock, A.D. Roses, A.T. Sands, B. Seed, W.C. Skarnes, J. Snoddy, P. Soriano, D.J. Stewart, F. Stewart, B. Stillman, H. Varmus, L. Varticovski, I.M. Verma, T.F. Vogt, H. von Melchner, J. Witkowski, R.P. Woychik, W. Wurst, G.D. Yancopoulos, S.G. Young and B. Zambrowicz (2004). The knockout mouse project. Nat Genet.36(9): 921-4. PMID: 15340423.

Wu, S., G. Ying, Q. Wu, and M.R. Capecchi (2007). Towards simpler and faster genome-wide mutagenesis in mice. Nat Genet. Jul;39(7):922-30. PMID: 17572674.

Li, S., Lan, H., Men, H., Wu, Y., Li, N., Capecchi, M.R., Bryda, E.C., and S. Wu (2016). Derivation of Transgene-Free Rat Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Approximating the Quality of Embryonic Stem Cells. Stem Cells Transl Med. Sep 13. [Epub ahead of print]

Du, X., Feng, T.,Yu, D., Wu, Y., Zou, H., Ma, S., Feng, C., Huang, Y., Ouyang, H., Hu, X., Pan, D., Li, N., Capecchi, M., and S. Wu(2015). Barriers for the Derivation of Germline Competent Porcine Pluripotent Stem Cells. Stem Cell and Development (submitted).

TARC X Meeting Report

20150809_084915 20150817_103359 20130810_163007Tahoe City, California, USA

August 9 – 13, 2015

“What if . . . we had cows that did not have horns? We do! This is a naturally-occurring mutation, and these are called “polled” (or, hornless) cows. This is a great benefit to the cattle industry, as this reduces the amount of trauma that cows can cause each other. Unfortunately, there are only a few types of cows that contain the mutation causing the polled phenotype. Other cows must have their horns removed to safely interact with each other in groups and their handlers. You can see that this type of “surgery” could also cause animal welfare issues.

But, what if we could transfer the naturally-occurring mutation from one type of cow to another? This can be accomplished by breeding the mutation into non-polled cattle. Keeping in mind that the time for gestation in cattle is 9 months, and then the time to sexual maturity could be another one to one and a half years, the time needed to do the number of crosses to generate this mutation in a new strain of cattle could be significant—one breeder’s lifetime. But (again, another “but”), what if we could introduce this mutation in a single generation by genetic engineering and leave no footprint behind—just this ONE MUTATION. It is now possible to do this using the CRISPR/Cas9 system; one could introduce the mutation and carefully characterize the animals that result to insure that there are no additional changes in the genome—no footprints. You could argue that this would be incredibly beneficial for animal welfare issues and for the benefit of those who care for these animals.”

This is the type of discussion that can result, based on the research presented at the Tenth Transgenic Animal Research Conference (TARC X) [http://www.cevs.ucdavis.edu/confreg/?confid=732] just completed in Lake Tahoe, California, USA. The discussions and talks centered around transgenic animals other than mice, including cows, sheep, goats and pigs, as well as avians (chickens), rabbits, and even mosquitoes! An especially valuable addition to the signature 10th Conference was the inclusion of reviews of different aspects of the technology given at the start of each session.

In the first session, Dr. Jim Murray (UC Davis, USA) reviewed how genetically engineered livestock have been developed for agriculture since the first TARC meeting in 1997. This was closely followed by a talk from Maeve Ballantyne (Roslin Institute, Scotland) about their efforts to engineer resilience to African swine fever into pigs. This disease is rapidly spreading from Africa throughout Eastern Europe. Thus, this type of genetic engineering could be critical for maintaining the health of swine herds. The following talk by Jayne Raper (CUNY, USA), was a natural extension in this session, discussing how genes encoding resistance to trypanosomiasis in non-human primates could be moved into sheep and cattle. The expectation is that such genes are critical for maintaining the health of these herds throughout Africa.

The second session was devoted to new technologies for genome engineering. It started with an excellent review from Bruce Whitelaw (Roslin Institute, Scotland). His review showed how the initial slow progress in generating precisely mutated animals has become much more rapid with the introduction of genome editing. The promise of this technology was soon demonstrated by Mark Tizard (CSIRO, Australia), who described efforts to edit the genome of poultry, and by Bhanu Teluga (University of Maryland, USA), who described his highly efficient CRISPR/Cas targeted genome editing in pigs.

After an afternoon break for hiking, shopping, boating and general fun in Lake Tahoe, there was a late afternoon poster session with submissions from throughout the world. After dinner, the evening session began with a talk from Pablo Ross (UC Davis). Pablo reviewed how pluripotent stem cells have been used to generate targeted livestock, and tantalized the audience with a promise of an upcoming publication describing a new media for growth of pluripotent stem cells from large animals, hopefully capable of generating chimeras and germline transmission. This was closely followed by talks from Franklin West (Univ. of Georgia, USA) and Jorge Piedrahita (NCSU, USA) about the use of stem cells in both pigs and chickens.

The second full day of the meeting was begun with a review by Chris Rogers (Exemplar Genetics, USA) on how genetically engineered livestock have been developed for biomedical models. Simon Bawden (SARI, AU) reported how Huntington’s disease has been recreated in sheep. This was followed by a talk from Lydia Garas (UC Davis, USA) about lysozyme transgenic goats whose milk can be used to prevent and treat intestinal diseases. After a short break, Mingjun Liu (China) described how the sheep FGF5 and MSTN genes have been altered using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing. The final talk of the morning was from Margareth Capurro (Univ. of Sao Paulo, Brazil), where she captivated the audience with her description of the methods used to gain acceptance for release of GE mosquitoes to reduce the incidence of dengue fever in one Brazilian village. Margareth finished her talk with a most memorable jingle used as a public service announcement!

The Tuesday afternoon session was composed of talks from Eddie Sullivan (SABBiotherapeutics, USA) about the generation of humanized antibodies produced in cows, and from Lissa Herron (Roslin Institute, Scotland) about the isolation of pharmaceutical proteins from avian egg whites. These talks were then followed by an enthusiastic review from Tim Doran (CSIRO, AU) where he surveyed the advances made in engineering of the avian genome. A number of conference attendees added to their notoriety by being listed in his “Hall of Fame”! The final talk on Tuesday, given by Marie-Cecile van de Lavoir (Crystal Biosciences, USA), described the generation of transgenic chickens carrying Cre-recombinase, which can be used to delete selectable markers in vivo.

The final day of the regular conference began with a review by Kevin Wells (Univ. of Missouri, USA) of the regulations governing genetic engineered animals and the food supply. He emphasized that, in the US, while there are regulations that apply, there have not been laws passed that oversee this area, and he called for the preparation of a “white paper” by the experts in the field to advise the US government. His talk was followed by a presentation of the “Glo-fish”@ experience with obtaining US approval given by Alan Blake (Yorktown Technologies, USA). William Muir (Purdue Univ., USA) then presented his statistical model (Hazard Assessment at Critical Control Points, or HAACP) that can assess environmental risk of GE animals based on net fitness of the organism, demonstrating its effectiveness in an experiment on a model organism. He then showed its application to the Aquabounty@ salmon currently awaiting approval, showing that the fear of an accidental release is irrelevant, as the GE salmon would quickly be eliminated from the population.

The next session had talks from Jun Wu (Salk Institute, USA) on the development of pluripotent stem cells, and their use in the pig to generate humanized organs for transplant; and from Hiro Nakauchi (Stanford Univ., USA) on exploiting an “organ niche” by injecting pluripotent stem cells from one organism (rat) into another, deficient organism (Pdx1-/- mouse) to generate a xenogenic pancreas. He is now testing this process in pigs as well.

Attendees were then given another welcome afternoon off to play in the surrounding area, where there is ample opportunity for boating, biking and hiking. This being the final day of the regular conference, everyone truly welcomed this last chance to enjoy the lake and surrounding mountains.

The final session of the meeting began (after another poster session and dinner) with a review given by Heiner Niemann (Hannover, Germany), where he spoke about the use of pigs as xeno-donors for human organs. He described three major hurdles to this scenario, including immune responses, physiological incompatibilities, and the risk of transmitting zoonotic organisms. His own work is an attempt to modify the immune response by humanizing several candidate genes.

The last talk of the meeting was from Alison Van Eenennaam (UC-Davis, USA) about how the technology has progressed but the acceptance of transgenic food animals has not over the past twenty years that TARC meetings have been held. She made an eloquent request that scientists take the time to explain and assure the public that genetic engineering technology can be safe and assist the world with developing a healthy, sustainable food supply. The scientific portion of the meeting then ended with the presentation of the poster award (sponsored by the Roslin Institute) to Dorothea Aumann (Munich, Germany) for her poster on “Analyzing gamma/delta T-cell function in chicken by reverse genetics”. The award presentation was followed by a discussion of how to advance the regulatory environment.

An optional Livestock Industry Day was held the following day, 14 August, 2015, where various company representatives could share their work, interact with attending scientists, and have another enjoyable day in Lake Tahoe. All in all, it was a very informative, interesting, and pleasurable meeting. Granlibakken Conference Center [http://www.granlibakken.com], The UC Davis Department of Animal Science [http://animalscience.ucdavis.edu], Drs. Jim Murray, Elizabeth Maga, Alison Van Eenennaam and Pablo Ross should be commended for their hard work in producing such a successful gathering. The next meeting will be held August 13-17, 2017—please plan on attending!

 

 

Respectfully submitted by:
Jan Parker-Thornburg, with editing from Walter Tsark and Jim Murray

TT2014 abstracts: submission deadline is approaching (30 June)

TT2014 abstracts: submission deadline is approaching (30 June)
TT2014 abstracts: submission deadline is approaching (30 June)

From the International Society for Transgenic Technologies (ISTT) we warmly invite and encourage you all to submit your most recent and exciting results and developments in animal transgenesis to be presented at the forthcoming 12th Transgenic Technology (TT2014) meeting, which will be held in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, on 6-8 October 2014. Deadline for submitting abstracts for the TT2014 meeting is June 30.
To submit an abstract please visit this TT2014 meeting web page.

All TT2014 participants are encouraged to submit their work as an abstract for poster presentation at the TT2014 meeting. Authors are requested to submit an abstract with the following requirements:

  • Title (max. 25 words)
  • Name authors and affiliations (first author is the presenting author).
  • Text of the communication (max. 400 words).
  • Abstracts should be submitted no later than June 30, 2014.

Accepted abstracts will be published in the scientific journal Transgenic Research (Springer), to which the ISTT is associated.

Posters
Posters will be on display in the exhibition area throughout the duration of the meeting. Poster boards are 1.00m wide x 2.00m high and we recommend posters do not exceed 1.50m in length. A supply of Velcro tabs will be available at the venue. No screws or double-sided adhesive tape will be allowed due to the damage they can cause to the boards.

Best Poster Awards
All posters presented at the TT2014 meeting will be eligible for one of the ISTT Best Poster Awards, generously sponsored by Charles River, Inc.

Oral Presentations
A limited number of abstract submissions will be selected and invited to present their findings in the form of a short oral presentation within the main meeting program. Should you be interested in being considered to speak at the meeting please select the appropriate option when submitting your abstract.

Abstracts are invited on all aspects of Transgenic Technologies, including the conference themes as listed below:

  • New technologies in animal transgenesis
  • Embryo stem cells
  • Target nucleases or Editing nucleases (ZFNs, TALENs, CRISPRs)
  • Large-scale phenotyping
  • Animal Biotechnology
  • Imaging with transgenic animals
  • Mouse models of human disease
  • Zebrafish models of human disease and transgenesis
  • Animal ethics and welfare

We are looking forward to receiving your exciting works to discuss the latest development on animal transgenesis!. See you all in Edinburgh!

Submit your abstract(s) to the TT2014 meeting in Edinburgh: 30 June

Submit your abstract(s) to the TT2014 meeting in Edinburgh: 30 June
Submit your abstract(s) to the TT2014 meeting in Edinburgh: 30 June

The submission of abstracts for the 12th Transgenic Technology (TT2014) meeting, to be held in Edinburgh (Scotland, UK), on 6-8 October, is OPEN. All TT2014 participants are encouraged to submit their work as an abstract for poster presentation at the TT2014 meeting. Authors are requested to submit an abstract with the following requirements: Title (max. 25 words), Name authors and affiliations (first author is the presenting author), and, Text of the communication (max. 400 words). Abstracts should be submitted no later than June 30, 2014. Accepted abstracts will be published in the scientific journal Transgenic Research (Springer), to which the ISTT is associated.

Posters
Posters will be on display in the exhibition area throughout the duration of the meeting. Poster boards are 1.00m wide x 2.00m high and we recommend posters do not exceed 1.50m in length. A supply of Velcro tabs will be available at the venue. No screws or double-sided adhesive tape will be allowed due to the damage they can cause to the boards. All presented Posters at the TT2014 meeting will be entitled to the Best Poster Awards, generously sponsored by Charles River.

Oral Presentations
A limited number of abstract submissions will be selected and invited to present their findings in the form of a short oral presentation within the main meeting program. Should you be interested in being considered to speak at the meeting please select the appropriate option when submitting your abstract.

Abstracts are invited on all aspects of Transgenic Technologies, including the conference themes as listed below:

  • New technologies in animal transgenesis
  • Embryo stem cells
  • Target nucleases or Editing nucleases (ZFNs, TALENs, CRISPRs)
  • Large-scale phenotyping
  • Animal Biotechnology
  • Imaging with transgenic animals
  • Mouse models of human disease
  • Zebrafish models of human disease and transgenesis
  • Animal ethics and welfare

We are seeking your input for the Round Table Discussion at the TT2014 meeting

We are seeking your input for the Round Table Discussion at the TT2014 meeting
We are seeking your input for the Round Table Discussion at the TT2014 meeting

We are seeking your input for the next ISTT meeting, TT2014, Round Table Discussion. To set the scene, we would like to inform you, on behalf of the Organizing Committee of the TT2014, about a new update in the scientific program for this meeting, regarding the traditional round-table discussion on “How to Run a Transgenic Unit? that is regularly scheduled at every single TT meeting. This is one of our fundamental ISTT-related activities, run by and meant for ISTT members.

In Edinburgh, the TT2014 Organizers, kindly asked ISTT member James Bussell (Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge, UK) to chair this round table, and to lead the discussion entitled “The Future of Transgenic Core Facilities“. James Bussell has invited the following four ISTT members as panelists, representing new and well-established transgenic facilities, from both academic and private institutions.

Inken Beck, Institute of Molecular Genetics, Prague, Czech Republic
Lynn Doglio, Feinberg School , Northwestern University, Chicago, USA
Sarah Johnson, MRC NIMR, Mill Hill, London, UK
Xin Rairdan, Genentech Inc., South San Francisco, California, USA

At the TT2014 meeting, these panelists will first prepare a brief presentation on the topic, with their view on the subject to be discussed and thereafter will be happy to respond to any questions or comments from the audience. In this regard, and in order to promote efficient discussion, we would like to encourage you, as ISTT members, to send James Bussell potential questions or issues you would like to hear discussed in this round table, regarding the future of transgenic facilities. Thanks in advance.

Some initial thoughts for this round table:

What does the future of our GA facilities look like. We have asked 4 facilities of varying size and funding to share their outlook on trends that will affect them in the medium and long term and would likely include areas such as production, supply and use of GA animals. We are seeing the continual evolution of the technologies surrounding our field with the ability to create mutations and editing of the genome becoming accessible to all facilities who want to invest in the technologies. Many components of the process are now common place and utilised throughout the various stages of a colonies life. For example implantation of embryos is used for rederivation of embryos, reimplantation of thawed cryopreserved stocks etc. However as per the ‘Bred but not used‘ meeting sponsored by the Dutch Government, questions around efficiency, wastage and good practice remain to be answered. Over the past years we have seen global consortia target the mouse genome via ES cells making the resources available to requesters. Furthermore National and International funding bodies such as the NIH and the EU have funded large scale production and phenotyping programs with the aim of creating a knockout for every protein coding gene. We now see new technologies that again can speed up access and refine the ability to edit the genome applying very discreet or multiple mutations to the mouse and other species where early stage embryos can be utilised.

From the panel of presenters perspective we seek their opinion on what does the future look like to them.

Some initial questions that could be posed :

• Should we be looking to large production centres to create and distribute the colonies.
• Could more dedicated facilities better use their funds by removing elements of their production or archiving.
• Would this cause a loss of key skills from within the community.
• If so how should knowledge be shared or disseminated.
• How do commercial groups see their place within the community.
• If the genome editing technologies become so accessible do we need large scale consortia.
• How do researchers engage with funding bodies to access support for their research.

Thanks in advance for providing your questions or items for discussion (send the questions/items for discussion to: James Bussell) .

See you all in Edinburgh!

Updated scientific and workshop programmes for the TT2014 meeting in Edinburgh

Upades scientific and workshop programmes for TT2014 meeting in Edinburgh: Please, register today!.
Upades scientific and workshop programmes for TT2014 meeting in Edinburgh: Please, register today!.

The scientific and zebrafish transgenesis hands-on workshop programmes prepared for the 12th Transgenic Technology (TT2014) meeting, to be held in Edinburgh (Scotland, UK), on October 6-8 (workshop on October 8-10) 2014, have been recently updated by the Organizers, chaired by Douglas Strathdee (Glasgow, UK). These rewarding updates further increased the already high quality and interest for this popular conference series, promoted from the International Society for Transgenic Technologies (ISTT), the most important forum where to discuss the state-of-art of animal transgenic technology, to share new developments, to review the deployment of the new methods that have recently being devised and, in summary, an excellent arena where to easily meet, face-to-face, the most relevant key-players in the field while providing a wonderful excuse to gather and ex-change experiences with the entire ISTT family of members.

The updated list of confirmed invited speakers attending the TT2014 meeting (6-8 October 2014) includes:

  • David Adams, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge, UK
  • Ignacio Anegon, Center for Research in Transplantation and Immunology, Nantes, France
  • James Bussell, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge, UK
  • Ian Chalmers, MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, The University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Stephen Ekker, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  • Anna-Katerina Hadjatonakis, Developmental Biology Program, Sloan-Kettering Institute, New York, USA
  • Peter Hohenstein, The Roslin Institute and Royal Dick School of Vetinary Studies & MRC IGMM, University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Rudolf Jaenisch, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Nine Cambridge Center Cambridge, USA
  • Jos Jonkers, Division of Molecular Pathology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Keith Joung, Molecular Pathology Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, MA, USA
  • Alexandra Joyner, Developmental Biology Program, Sloan-Kettering Institute, New York, USA
  • Koichi Kawakami, Division of Molecular and Developmental Biology, National Institute of Genetics, Shizuoka, Japan
  • Michael McGrew, Division of Developmental Biology, The Roslin Institute and Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Daniel J Murphy, Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, University of Glasgow, UK
  • James Murray, Department of Animal Science and Department of Population Health and Reproduction, University of California, Davis, California, USA
  • Stephen Murray, The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine, USA
  • Lluis Montoliu, ISTT President, Organising Committee, National Center of Biotechnology (CNB), CSIC, Madrid, Spain
  • Vasilis Ntziachristos, Technische Universität Mu?nchen, Munich, Germany
  • Elizabeth Patton, MRC Human Genetics Unit & MRC IGMM, University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Pawel Pelczar, Institute of Laboratory Animal Science, Zürich, Switzerland
  • Jan-Bas Prins, Leiden University Medical Centre, The Netherlands
  • Janet Rossant, The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (ISTT Prize)
  • Angelika Schnieke, Livestock Biotechnology, WZW Center of Life Science, Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany
  • Kai Schönig, Central Institute of Mental Health, Heidelberg University, Mannheim, Germany
  • William Skarnes, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge, UK
  • Austin Smith, Wellcome Trust-Medical Research Council Stem Cell Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  • Francis Stewart, Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden, Germany
  • Sara Wells, MRC Harwell, Oxfordshire, UK
  • Jacqueline White, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge UK

The updated list of confirmed invited speakers & instructors attending the hands-on zebrafish transgenesis workshop taking place immediately after the TT2014 meeting (8-10 October 2014) includes:

  • Liz Patton, MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, The University of Edinburgh
  • Carl Tucker, Biomedical Research Resources, The University of Edinburgh
  • Tim Czopka, Centre for Neuroregeneration, The University of Edinburgh
  • Koichi Kawakami, Division of Molecular and Developmental Biology, National Institute of Genetics, Shizuoka, Japan
  • Stephen Ekker, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  • Keith Joung, Department of Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School
  • Henry Roehl, Department of Biomedical Science, The University of Sheffield
  • Robert Kelsh, Centre for Regenerative Medicine and Department of Biology and Biochemistry, The University of Bath
  • Martin Denvir, The University of Edinburgh/British Heart Foundation Centre for Cardiovascular Science, The University of Edinburgh
  • David Lyons, Centre for Neuroregeneration, The University of Edinburgh
  • Dirk Seiger, Centre for Neuroregeneration, The University of Edinburgh
  • Karthikeyani Paranthaman, MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, The University of Edinburgh

Abstracts: All TT2014 participants are encouraged to submit their work as an abstract for poster presentation at the TT2014 meeting. Abstracts should be submitted no later than June 30, 2014. Accepted abstracts will be published in the scientific journal Transgenic Research (Springer), to which the ISTT is associated. A limited number of abstract submissions will be selected and invited to present their findings in the form of a short oral presentation within the main meeting program. Abstracts are invited on all aspects of Transgenic Technologies, including the conference themes as listed below:

  • New technologies in animal transgenesis
  • Embryo stem cells
  • Target nucleases or Editing nucleases (ZFNs, TALENs, CRISPRs)
  • Large-scale phenotyping
  • Animal Biotechnology
  • Imaging with transgenic animals
  • Mouse models of human disease
  • Zebrafish models of human disease and transgenesis
  • Animal ethics and welfare

Registration for both the TT2014 meeting and the zebrafish transgenesis workshop are OPEN. Registration for the TT2014 meetings starts at 265 UK Pounds for technician/student ISTT members and progressively increases for the rest of categories of delegates. ISTT members are always entitled to reduced registration fees. Registration for the zebrafish transgenesis workshop is independent, with an extra cost of 275 UK Pounds , and only open to delegates that have also registered to attend the TT2014 meeting. The early bird reduced registration fees are operative until July 31, 2014. Thereafter, registration will be progressively become more expensive. Hence, please register by July 31, 2014 to benefit from reduced registration fees.

ISTT Registration Awards: Application to ISTT registration awards for the TT2014 meeting is OPEN. A minimum of six registration awards for ISTT members will be sponsored by the International Society for Transgenic Technologies (ISTT). Applications should be sent, along with the registration confirmation and the requested additional documents to istt@transtechsociety.org by June 30, 2014. The ISTT will pay the Registration Fee of all applicants selected for an award. Please note that applicants not selected for an award are required to pay the coresponding registration fee. Please note the Award covers registration fees and attendance at all social events, however, does not cover travel, accommodation expenses or attendance at pre meeting events. Award decisions will be communicated by July 15, 2014 and awardees will receive a diploma at the TT2014 Meeting. Deadline for submitting application for ISTT Registration Awards for TT2014: 30 June 2014. Registration Award decisions will be communicated by 15 July 2014.

Looking forward to meeting you all in Edinburgh!

 

Meeting report: IX Transgenic Animal Research Conference. Granlibakken Conference Center, Tahoe City, California, USA, 11-15 August 2013

Lake Tahoe, CA, USA
Lake Tahoe, CA, USA

The IX Transgenic Animal Research Conference, organized by ISTT member Jim Murray (UC Davis), was held last week at the Granlibakken Conference Center, Tahoe City, California, USA. The unique and beautiful location of this meeting series, by Lake Tahoe, in Northern California, surrounded by woods and mountains (and sporting chipmunks and bears), triggered its magic again and, hence, this ninth TARC was a rewarding success. The conference was attended by about 100 delegates from academia and industry, representing groups primarily interested in the generation, analysis or marketing of non-rodent transgenic animal models, as well as regulators and representatives from governmental agencies. This conference was co-sponsored by the ISTT.

The meeting started with a most passionate keynote address by Matt Wheeler (University of Illinois, USA) who reminded us about our responsibility and the mission we all have as biotechnologists to improve the efficiency of food production in cattle, pigs, and also poultry (as adequately reminded by Helen Sang [Roslin Institute, UK]) , using our unique genetic tools and techniques. Dr. Wheeler provided a number of striking figures to highlight the extraordinary need for food in the near future: “estimates have suggested that we will need to increase our current food production by 70% by 2050. This means that we will have to produce the total amount of food each year that has been consumed by mankind over the past 500 years”. He also expressed regret at how transgenic large animal programs were declining in the US, in part due to the lack of trust in a regulatory process that has been witholding the approval of some early transgenic animals. One major example of this is the ongoing saga of the fast growing AquAdvantage transgenic salmon, produced by AquaBounty, not yet approved, more than 20 years after being first generated. Finally, he openly referred to the unacceptable cost for the world, of not using the most advanced genetic engineering techniques to improve food production. He concluded that “hunger is a curable disease”.

Scott Fahrenkrug (Recombinetics Inc., USA) continued with a most interesting talk describing how the new gene editing tools (i.e. TALENs) can be applied for direct livestock genetics. Using illustrative examples in pigs and cattle he demonstrated the efficient introduction of single and multiple subtle genetic changes, often found as rare alleles in some breeds and difficult to introduce in the animal of choice by standard genetic breeding program, where the segregation of traits would require tens of thousands of animals and many generations. This first of several talks on genome editing tools was followed by that of Emmanuelle Charpentier (Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Germany), one of the pioneers and discoverer of the CRISPR-Cas9 system in bacteria, and its application for the efficient gene edition in mammals. She suggested that new applications will come from the use of new variants of the RNA-guided Cas9 endonuclease.

Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe, CA, US
Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe, CA, USA

The second session started with a talk by Daniel Carlson (Recombinetics Inc., USA), who gave technical details of the experiments described briefly by Scott Fahrenkrug, highlighting the factors that can influence success when attempting to precisely edit the genome of livestock species (pig and cattle) with TALENs. Next, Charlotte Brandt Sorensen (Aarhus University, Denmark) reported on the efficient genome engineering in pigs using both recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) and TALENs in order to generate swine animal models of breast cancer and Type II diabetes. The session concluded with a technical lecture delivered by Colin Fox (Genentech, USA), on their approaches to systematically and efficiently genotype complex genetic alterations in transgenic animals affecting multiple alleles.

The third session was focused on the use of pigs for a variety of purposes. First, Kevin Wells (University of Missouri, USA), reported on their advances in a gene stacking project, where the use of phiC31 integrase and its corresponding target sites was evaluated, in parallel to standard homologous recombination approaches, for the efficient cointegration of multiple alleles at discrete genomic locations. The session was completed with talks from two German groups, where Nikolai Klymiuk (Ludwig-Maximilian University, Germany) and Angelika Schnieke (Technische Univ. Muenchen, Germany) shared their progress in xenotransplation and the modeling of cancer disease in pigs, respectively.

The fourth session, on the conference’s second day, started with a talk by Liangxue Lai (Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health, China) reporting on their progress with a series of pig models of human degenerative diseases including Parkinson, Ataxia (ALS), Huntington and Alzheimer. Liangxue Lai had also participated as invited speaker at the TT2013 meeting in Guangzhou, held previously this year. Chuck Long (Texas A&M University, USA) presented work from his lab using lentiviral transgenes in cattle to knock-down the myostatin locus by RNA-interference. He also reported on a new model for muscle steatosis (marbling) in pigs. The session ended with a totally different animal system: chickens and avian primordial germ cells (PGCs), delivered by Mike McGrew (Roslin Institute, UK). Mike reported progress made in his lab to establish efficient conditions to culture chicken PGCs and his attempts to generate inducible knock-down of target genes using transposons and the TET-system.

Lake Tahoe, CA, USA
Lake Tahoe, CA, USA

The fifth session, with two talks, was entirely devoted to further evaluate risk assessment on the transgenic goat model producing lysozyme in milk, generated by Jim Murray and collaborators at UC Davis. First, Elizabeth Maga (UC Davis, USA) systematically analyzed whether there were any unintended effects associated with the mammary-specific expression of the lysozyme transgene in the host (lactating goats) and in a non-targeted organism (kid goats consuming the milk from transgenic goats). Even though they found some statistically significant differences among the many tests conducted, these were considered of no biological relevance, more due to time of expression and not due to the presence of the transgene. She concluded that there were no unintended effects as revealed in these analyses. Second, Caitlin Cooper (UC Davis, USA) shared her analysis on the effects of consumption of milk containing lactoferrin (from transgenic cows) and/or lysozyme (from transgenic goats) on the intestinal health in young pigs. Her studies concluded that lactoferrin and lysozyme exhibit both shared and unique mechanisms and highlighted the relevance of dosage in the positive effects observed in the intestinal villi architecture and the overall balance of several cells of the immunity system in the gut.

The sixth session presented two different but equally-interesting advances obtained by two agrobiotech companies. First, AgResearch’s researcher Goetz Laible (New Zealand) described their success in reducing the contents of beta-lactoglobulin (BLG) in ovine and cow milk, hence aiming to produce a less allergenic milk for eventual human consumption. They tested their strategy using RNA-interference in mice, with the help of some transgenic mice producing BLG in their milk. Finally, they generated a cow producing milk with reduced allergens. Next, Benjamin Schusser (Crystal Bioscience, Inc., USA) shared their advances towards producing therapeutic monoclonal antibodies against human proteins in chickens. In this regard, he documented the creation of the first chicken knockouts, for the IgL and IgH loci, by inserting the corresponding variable regions of human Ig loci.

The seventh session was also devoted to advances in chicken genetic engineering. Tim Doran (CSIRO, Australia) began with a description of an alternative way of genetically modifying chicken PGCs with transposon-type transgenes by direct in vivo transfection, thus avoiding the need to isolate, culture and reinsert these cells in host chicken embryos. This talk was followed by that of Mark Tizard (CSIRO, Australia), illustrating how the use of innovative RNA-interference approaches could be used for efficient trait control and disease resistance in poultry.

Lake Tahoe, CA, USA
Lake Tahoe, CA, USA

The conference’s last day started with three new large animal models for human diseases. First, Irina Polejaeva (Utah State University, USA) described her transgenic goat models that overexpress the profibrotic factor TGF-ß1 in cardiomyocytes, designed to study the relationship between cardiac fibrosis and atrial fibrillation. Next, Chris Rogers (Exemplar Genetics, USA) presented pig models for human hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis generated by disrupting the LDL receptor gene in the pig genome. The LDLR deficient pigs are currently being used to test new cholesterol-lowering drugs and to develop detection and treatment strategies for atherosclerosis. The session finished with a talk by Zhong Wang (University of Michigan, USA) and their new approaches to study heart development and regeneration in pigs.

The eighth session was devoted to the progress of animal products generated using biotechnology with regard to regulation and the expected path to market, once the product is investigated, validated and eventually approved by the relevant regulatory bodies. This process was described by Ronald Stotish (AquaBounty Technologies, USA), who shared the extremely long and as-yet unsuccessful attempt to obtain required FDA approval for marketing the AquAdvantage salmon. This fast-growing transgenic fish can grow to expected market size in half of the time required for non-transgenic salmon using standard aquaculture procedures. The apparent science-based regulatory process has been repeatedly interrupted by not only anti-technology groups but other groups with obvious political and economic interests conflicting with the marketing of these salmon. More than 20 years have passed since this transgenic salmon was first generated, and yet, after numerous scientific studies demonstrating that this product is as safe as non-transgenic salmon and after concluding that it does not pose a significant threat for the environment, the final approval by the FDA has not been issued. The seminar on the transgenic salmon issue was followed by a nice summary talk by Alison van Eennennaam (UC Davis, USA) where she presented how the regulation of genetically-modified animals is interpreted in different countries/continents, such as US, Europe or Australia, and the consequences these definitions have on the overall regulatory process aiming to obtain a permission to market a given transgenic animal or a product derived from them. Furthermore, she challenged the current regulatory scenario with the new gene editing tools (i.e. ZFNs, TALENs, or CRISPRs-Cas) where, in most cases, the genetic alterations leave no specific footprints and are undistinguishable from other similar genetic alleles that can be found in the nature, among the different breeds of a given species. Knowing in advance whether these precise genetic engineering processes will or will not be regulated through the current laws or whether they would require an adaption of current norms is of paramount importance for the progress of the animal biotechnology field.

The final session held two great but totally different talks. First, Derric Nimmo (Oxitec Inc., UK) described their elegant and innovative solution to efficiently down-regulate wild populations of mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) This mosquito species survives by constantly feeding on human blood, and also serve as a vector to transmit serious diseases such as dengue or yellow fewer. He reported their approach using their RIDL strategy (Release of Insects with Dominant Lethality). The mechanism is based on a modified TET-off system where the tTA-VP16 activator is strongly expressed under several tet-op sequences unless the effector, Doxycycline (Dox), is provided in the diet. Hence, male transgenic mosquitoes can be raised in the laboratory, where the expression of the transgene is prevented with Dox, but, upon release in the wild, the lack of Dox triggers the expression of the transgene and the accumulation of the powerful transcriptional activators which cause irreversible damage to transgenic male mosquitoes, rending them sterile. Release of these sterile males and their subsequent mating with female populations is an efficient way to downsize wild mosquito populations. Approved open field tests have been already conducted in Cayman Islands, Malaysia and Brazil with success. The company is currently awaiting approval by the FDA and other equivalent agencies in order to apply their strategies in the US and other countries. This talk also illustrated the positive and rewarding effect accomplished by investing in informing people, affected populations, hospitals, governments, schools, etc… about this biotechnological approach to reduce disease-transmitting mosquitoes, which resulted in increased acceptance by the local populations. This community engagement approach appears to be the most promising and effective manner of gaining society’s acceptance for genetically-engineered animals and/or products.

Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe, CA, USA
Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe, CA, USA

The honor of the traditional concluding talk was given this time to Bruce Whitelaw (Roslin Institute, UK) with the challenge to envisage what the fourth decade would bring, after three decades of genetically engineered animals. After referring to the predicted needs for safe and more efficient food that this planet will need in the immediate future, Bruce divided the four decades as follows, identifying in each of them some major technological milestones: 1984-1993 (decade of the first transgenic animals produced by standard DNA pronuclear injection); 1994-2003 (decade of nuclear transfer, when Dolly was created and laid the foundation to generate many cloned and genetically-engineered mammals, using a technique currently referred as SCNT. At this point, Bruce kindly offered a tribute to the work done by Keith Campbell, instrumental in the creation of Dolly, who recently passed away); 2004-2013 (decade of a revolution in technologies including the use of lentivirus, transposons, SMGT, bird PGCs, ZFNs, TALENs and CRISPRs, and also, the decade of the first large animal models of human disease being effectively produced and tested). For the fourth decade, 2014-2023 Bruce speculated that the balance will re-equilibrate efforts and investments in both agricultural and biomedical sciences, after two decades where the genetic-engineering of animals was mostly dominated by projects and applications in biomedicine. He left us with the following thought: “The 4th decade of GE livestock is going to be good for those who work with this technology and for those – both man and animal – who benefit from it”.

Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe, CA, USA
Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe, CA, USA

All participants left home on August 15, after having enjoyed yet another fantastic conference put together by Jim Murray, who must be praised for his unrelenting commitment to this great meeting series, where the generation and application of non-rodent transgenic animals are discussed in depth, before, during and after the talks.
The next TARC meeting, the 10th Transgenic Animal Research Conference, will be held, at the same place, on August 9-13, 2015. We would encourage you to experience these meetings first hand, (and not through these meeting reports). Please make sure to book these dates on your agenda and not miss the next meeting by beautiful Lake Tahoe.

Lluis Montoliu & Jan Parker-Thornburg

First transgenic rabbits born in Turkey

First transgenic rabbits born in Turkey
First transgenic rabbits born in Turkey

ISTT member Gul Bakirer, from the University of Istambul, informed us about the first transgenic rabbits born in Turkey, as the result of an international research project where she has collaborated. These genetically-modified rabbits were produced by pronuclear microinjection of a DNA hyperactive transposon carrying the green-fluorescent protein reporter gene. This is a collaborative research project led by Prof. Sema Birler (Istanbul University, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Reproduction and Artificial Insemination) involving up to 13 researchers, research assistants and PhD students from two universities in Turkey (Istambul and Marmara), as well as two researchers from the Hawai’i University Manoa John A. Burns School of Medicine (Stephan Moisyadi, former ISTT member and Associate Professor at the UH Institute for Biogenesis Research [IBR] and Joel Marh, IBR Transgenic Facility Director). Emeritus Professor Ryuzo Yanagimachi, the founder of IBR, and Stefan Moisyadi travelled to Istanbul in November 2011 to set up the collaboration with the University of Istanbul and Marmara University. Stefan Moisyadi and Joel Marh returned to Istanbul this past June to further assist their collaborators in Turkey for the successful generation of these transgenic rabbits. The aim of the experiment was to show that the transposon-transgenes devised in Hawai’i could also be used in rabbits, as a first step towards the generation of additional transgenic rabbits producing proteins of interest in their milk. Two of the eight rabbits obtained in the litter (25%) were found to shine fluorescent green, and hence to be transgenic. Additional ongoing experiments, by the same Hawai’i-Turkish collaborative effort, are expected to produce similar transgenic sheep soon.

Some of the researchers from the Istambul University involved in this achievement. From left to right: Ramazan Arici (PhD student), Ayse Can (PhD student), Prof. Sema Birler (coordinator of this study) and Prof. Serhat Alkan.
Some of the researchers from the Istambul University involved in this achievement. From left to right: Ramazan Arici (PhD student), Ayse Can (PhD student), Prof. Sema Birler (coordinator of this study) and Prof. Serhat Alkan.

TT2013 meeting report published in Transgenic Research

TT2013 meeting report published in Transgenic Research
TT2013 meeting report published in Transgenic Research

The TT2013 meeting report, written by Douglas Strathdee (Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, Glasgow, Scotland, UK) and C. Bruce A. Whitelaw (Division of Developmental Biology, The Roslin Institute and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Roslin, Midlothian, Scotland, UK) has just been published, online, at the Transgenic Research journal web site. This review, entitled ‘TT2013 meeting report: the Transgenic Technology meeting visits Asia for the first time‘ nicely summarizes the talks and activities held during the recent 11th Transgenic Technology meeting, held in Guangzhou (China), on February 25-27, 2013, along with the subsequent hands-on workshop that was organized, on February 28-March 2, 2013. Douglas and Bruce, together with Peter Hohenstein (Division of Developmental Biology, The Roslin Institute and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Roslin, Midlothian, Scotland, UK) are the Organizers of the next 12th Transgenic Technology meeting, TT2014, which will be held in Edinburgh (Scotland, UK) on October 6-8, 2014.

First transgenic sheep made in SouthAmerica announced in Uruguay by ISTT members

Members of the team at IRAUy, led by A. Menchaca, and collaborators from Inst. Pasteur, led by M. Crispo, are holding several baby lambs (Photo by J. Calvelo)
Members of the team at IRAUy, led by A. Menchaca, and collaborators from Inst. Pasteur, led by M. Crispo, are holding several baby lambs (Photo by J. Calvelo)

Researchers at the Institute of Animal Reproduction in Uruguay (IRAUy), led by Alejo Menchaca (ISTT Member), in collaboration with members of the Transgenic and Experimental Animal Unit (UATE) of the Institut Pasteur de Montevideo, led by Martina Crispo (ISTT Member) and Ignacio Anegon‘s laboratory (ISTT Member), of the Transgenic Rats common facility, ITERT, INSERM, Nantes, France, working in Europe but born in Uruguay, have announced the generation of several green transgenic sheep made with lentiviruses carrying a GFP reporter transgene. These green animals represent the first transgenic sheep produced in Uruguay, and in SouthAmerica. According to the press release and the authors of this biotechnological project, up to nine transgenic sheep were generated last year, 6 months ago, at the IRAUy, after 2 years of work.

Green (GFP) transgenic sheep generated in Uruguay through a scientific collaboration involving the teams of Alejo Menchaca, Martina Crispo and Ignacio Anegon (Photo by J. Calvelo)
Green (GFP) transgenic sheep generated in Uruguay through a scientific collaboration involving the teams of Alejo Menchaca, Martina Crispo and Ignacio Anegon (Photo by J. Calvelo)

This proof-of-concept experiment demonstrates the technological skills and capacity of these teams and institutions in Uruguay, who have been able to produce these first transgenic lambs, and hence, they must be praised by their achievement. In the future, additional genetically modified livestock will be created, aiming to produce recombinant proteins of biomedical or industrial interest in the milk of these transgenic animals, following similar experiments already carried out in other countries. The International Society for Transgenic Technologies (ISTT) is proud to count among its members these three excellent researchers and wishes to congratulate them for their success in their experiments.

First GFP transgenic sheep produced in Uruguay and SouthAmerica (Photo by J. Calvelo)
First GFP transgenic sheep produced in Uruguay and SouthAmerica (Photo by J. Calvelo)

The most immediate precedents for genetically modified livestock in SouthAmerica include transgenic goats generated in 2009 by the team of Vicente Freitas (ISTT Member) at the State University of Ceará, Fortaleza (Brazil), expressing hG-CSF in their milk, and several transgenic cows generated by a biotech firm, Biosidus, and by INTA, in Argentina, in 2008 and 2011, respectively, producing therapeutical proteins in their milk.