China makes breakthrough in transgenic sheep research

08:16, May 26, 2010      

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Chinese scientists announced in Urumqi Tuesday that they have successfully developed a technique which could lead to the breeding of transgenic sheep in large numbers.

Dr. Liu Mingjun with the Xinjiang Academy of Zootechnical Science said that the technique called "lentivirus " was more efficient and predictable than traditional methods, and could give China the edge for breeding genetically altered sheep and establishing a new transgenic sheep species.

Between February and April, 118 pregnant ewes carrying transgenic embryos delivered 162 lambs under the auspices of Liu's team. Of the new born, 92 were transgenic lambs, setting a record high transgenic efficiency rate of 56.8 percent.

By contrast, the transgenic efficiency -- proportion of transgenic lambs to the testing of newly born -- of traditional techniques ranged only from one percent to five percent on average.

Previous publications showed that the scientists of Roslin Institute of Edinburgh University made seven transgenic lambs with somatic cell cloning in one experiment, with an efficiency of 2.25 percent.

Liu said that his research team had for two years been doing transgenic experiments including cloning genes related to muscle- and wool-growth.

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