Milestone for targeted gene-editing technology promises better models for human diseases.
The ultimate potential of precision gene-editing techniques is beginning to be realised. Today, researchers in China report the first monkeys engineered with targeted mutations1, an achievement that could be a stepping stone to making more realistic research models of human diseases.
Xingxu Huang, a geneticist at the Model Animal Research Center of Nanjing University in China, and his colleagues successfully engineered twin cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) with two targeted mutations using the CRISPR/Cas9 system — a technology that has taken the field of genetic engineering by storm in the past year. Researchers have leveraged the technique to disrupt genes in mice and rats2, 3, but until now none had succeeded in primates.