Journal article Open Access

Production of transgenic rabbits, sheep and pigs by microinjection

Hammer, Robert E.; Pursel, Vernon G.; Rexroad, Caird E.; Wall, Robert J.; Bolt, Douglas J.; Ebert, Karl M.; Palmiter, Richard D.; Brinster, Ralph L.

Direct microinjection has been used to introduce foreign DNA into a number of terminally differentiated cell types as well as embryos of several species including sea urchin1, Candida elegans2, Xenopus3, Drosophila4,5 and mice6–11. Various genes have been successfully introduced into mice including constructs consisting of the mouse metallothionein-I (MT) promoter/regulator region fused to either the rat or human growth hormone (hGH) structural genes. Transgenic mice harbouring such genes commonly exhibit high, metal-inducible levels of the fusion messenger RNA in several organs, substantial quantities of the foreign growth hormone in serum and enhanced growth12,13. In addition, the gene is stably incorporated into the germ line, making the phenotype heritable. Because of the scientific importance and potential economic value of transgenic livestock containing foreign genes, we initiated studies on large animals by microinjecting the fusion gene, MT–hGH13, into the pronuclei or nuclei of eggs from superovulated rabbits, sheep and pigs. We report here integration of the gene in all three species and expression of the gene in transgenic rabbits and pigs.

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