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What are Transgenic Animals?-Applications and Developing Techniques

August 20, 2022
written by Sidra Batool

Transgenic animals include both genetically modified (GM) and genetically engineered (GE) organisms. These are animals whose genes have been altered using genetic engineering techniques. The GM and GE animals can be produced in large quantities, and their offspring can also be created through breeding.

Transgenic animals are those that contain foreign DNA from another species. This means they possess traits that are not naturally found in the organism. For example, the silkworm produces silk protein, but scientists have injected its genome with genes from other insects that produce spider silk. Other examples are fish that produce human proteins or pigs that produce milk.

They are created through genetic engineering techniques to produce traits such as resistance to disease or improved nutrition.

How Transgenic Animals Are Developed?

Two techniques are developed to insert genes into the eggs of animals:

Microinjection Of Genes:

Foreign genes are injected into the egg through microinjections.

Vortex Mixing:

It has the following procedure:

  1. The eggs are placed in an agitator. It has DNA and silicon-carbide needles.
  2. The needles make tiny holes in the egg membrane. The DNA enters through these
  3. These eggs are fertilized and produce transgenic offspring.
Image showing the procedure of development of transgenic animals

Applications Of Transgenic Animals

The technique of producing transgenic animals has the following applications:

The Higher Growth Rate Of Animals:

The genes for bovine (cattle) growth hormone are injected into many animal eggs. Thus many larger fishes, cows, pigs, rabbits, and sheep are produced. There is much concern about these. The genetically engineered fishes can upset or destroy the natural ecosystems. Thus these engineered fishes are kept in separate ponds. So that these fishes may not escape and mix with wild fishes.

Gene Pharming:

The use of transgenic farm animals to produce pharmaceuticals is called gene pharming Several firms are using this technique. The genes of therapeutic and diagnostic proteins are inserted into the DNA of the animal.

Thus these proteins appear in the milk of that animal. Scientists are trying to produce drugs for the treatment of cystic fibrosis, cancer, blood diseases, and other disorders. Herd of goats is used to produce Antithrombin III. It prevents blood clotting during surgery. Its clinical trials have been started.

Procedure For Producing Transgenic Mammals For Gene Pharming

• DNA containing the gene of interest is injected into donor eggs.

• The egg is fertilized in vitro (in a test tube) and the zygote is formed.

• The zygotes are placed in host females. The offspring are developed.

• Female offspring become mature. The product is secreted in the milk.

• The scientists of the United States Department of Agriculture have produced genetically engineered mice. This mouse produces human growth Hormones in their urine. They are using the same technique on larger animals. Write can be preferred over milk due to these reasons:

All animals in a herd urinate. But only females produce milk. Animals start urinating at birth. But females don’t produce milk until maturity. Thus it is easier to extract proteins from urine than from milk.

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