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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Prediction of transgene integration by noninvasive bioluminescent screening of microinjected bovine embryos.

Transgenesis in domestic species, as a research tool and in biotechnological applications, has been limited by the expense of producing transgenic offspring by standard microinjection techniques. A major factor is the inefficiency of maintaining large numbers of recipient females, when a high percentage of these carry nontransgenic fetuses. There are two approaches to reduce this cost, the fusion of transfected fetal fibroblasts with enucleated oocytes, and the screening of microinjected embryos for transgene integration in blastocysts, prior to transfer. Here, we develop a luminescent screening system to select transgenic bovine embryos. A transgene with scaffold attachment regions flanking the murine HSP70.1 promoter linked to firefly luciferase cDNA, was microinjected into pronuclei of in vitro produced zygotes. At the blastocyst stage, the transgene was induced by heat shock (45 degrees C, 15 min) and 4-6 h later, luciferase expression was analyzed by photon counting imaging. Screened blastocysts were transferred to recipients and day 50 fetuses or calves were analyzed by PCR and Southern blot for transgene integration. When nonluminescent blastocysts were transferred, transgene integration was never observed. Of 13 fetuses derived from luminescent blastocysts, 3 contained integrated transgenes that were functional in all tissues examined. Image analysis of the signal emitted by positive blastocysts revealed that 9 nontransgenic fetuses were obtained from blastocysts that exhibited a localized luminescent signal. On the other hand, 3 of 4 fetuses derived from blastocysts that emitted light over more than 70% of their surface were transgenic. Thus, by selecting luminescent blastocysts on the basis of both signal intensity and distribution, the number of recipient females required to produce transgenic offspring can be greatly reduced. Using this technique it should also be possible to improve the efficiency of transgenesis by microinjection through studies in which vector design and integration conditions are examined at the blastocyst stage.[1]


  1. Prediction of transgene integration by noninvasive bioluminescent screening of microinjected bovine embryos. Menck, M., Mercier, Y., Campion, E., Lobo, R.B., Heyman, Y., Renard, J.P., Thompson, E.M. Transgenic Res. (1998) [Pubmed]
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