Printer Friendly

Gene transfer cures mouse defect.

Gene transfer cures mouse defect

A hereditary defect in synthesis of a crucial blood protein in mice, which constitutes a disease similar to beta thalassemia in humans, has been corrected by the transfer of the corresponding human gene into mouse reproductive cells. Kiran Chada and Frank Constantini of Columbia University in New York City report successful transplantation of the human adult beta-globin gene. They report that in many of the recipient mice and their descendants, the gene is active in producing human beta-globin protein only in the appropriate location, red blood cells. The gene was also expressed at the appropriate time in development--in fetal and adult red blood cells but not in embryonic red blood cells. These results indicate that the regulatory instructions for the expression of the betaglobin gene sit near the gene itself, because they are contained within the DNA segment the scientists have snipped out of the human chromosome.

The finding that a "good' gene can compensate for a "bad' one that is still present is encouraging for potential clinical uses of gene transfer, comments Heiner Westphal of NICHD. While gene transplanation into human reproductive cells is only a distant prospect, gene transfers into bone marrow cells are considered imminent. "Now one worry can be set aside,' Westphal says, "that transferred genes will not be expressed in appropriate amounts.'

The timing of a transplanted gene's expression, however, cannot always be predicated from its behavior in the animal contributing the genes. In other experiments, Chada and Constantini transferred a gene that is expressed in different developmental stages in mouse and human. Once transplanted into a mouse, the human gamma-globin gene shifted its activity to the stage appropriate for the mouse gene, behaving as an embryonic rather than as a fetal gene.
COPYRIGHT 1986 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Miller, Julie Ann
Publication:Science News
Date:May 24, 1986
Previous Article:Gene action and cancer in eye lens.
Next Article:NASA sets sensors for 1990 return to Mars.

Related Articles
Research progress toward gene therapy.
Shivering mice 'warmed' by gene therapy.
Gene therapy takes aim at liver, lungs.
Gene therapy gets a boost with 'natural' regulators.
Rabbit trail may lead to human gene therapy.
Gleaning meaning from ailing mice: bedridden lab animals reveal details about human diseases.
Gene therapy seeks to mend cystic fibrosis.
HIV provides tools for gene therapy.
Gene therapy corrects mouse lupus.
Modus Operandi of an Infamous Drug.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters