Background: Techniques for genetic engineering of swine are providing genetically modified animals of importance for the field of xenotransplantation, animal models for human diseases and for a variety of research applications. Many of these modifications have been directed toward avoiding naturally existing cellular and antibody responses to species-specific antigens.
Methods: A number of techniques are today available to engineering the genome of mammals, these range from the well established less efficient method of DNA microinjection into the zygote, the use of viral vectors, to the more recent use of somatic cell nuclear transfer. The use of enzymatic engineering that are being developed now will refine the precision of the genetic modification combined with the use of new vectors like transposons.
Results: The use of somatic cell nuclear transfer is currently the most efficient way to generate genetically modified pigs. The development of enzymatic engineering with zinc-finger nucleases, recombinases and transposons will revolutionize the field. Nevertheless, genetic engineering in large domesticated animals will remain a challenging task.
Conclusions: Recent improvements in several fields of cell and molecular biology offer new promises and opportunities toward an easier, cost-effective and efficient generation of transgenic pigs.
© 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S.