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Thursday, 28th May 2009
In General Japan News,

Japanese scientists create fluorescent monkeys for genetic research

Scientists working at the Central Institute for Experimental Animals at Keio University have reported that success in creating fluorescent marmosets with the ability to pass on their unusual trait genetically.

As reported by the science journal Nature, the primates' ability to pass on artificially inserted genetic traits to their offspring could make them potentially invaluable for study of hereditary conditions such as Parkinson's or Huntington's disease.

The "transgenic" marmosets have been altered to glow green under ultraviolet light using a protein native to jellyfish that is now commonly used in genetic studies.

Though rodents with the same genetic ability have previously been created, Dr Erika Sasaki of Keio University has stated that primates would be far more valuable to medical research due to their genetic similarity to humans.

She said that the research "provides a new animal model for human disease that has the great advantage of a close genetic relationship with humans. This model will be valuable to many fields of biomedical research".

Earlier this week, genetic researchers in Tokyo announced that they had a discovered a gene that may be the cause of hair loss after experimentation with mice.

Written by Mark Smith