Tuesday, 15 May 2012



As known by all, cats are the friends of the human and be regarded as the second common pet out of other animals. But do you know that cats also play a very important role in the biomedical world? They have the similar structure as human at some stages and because of their bigger size, it is easier to do the experiment with them rather than with rats or mice. A more amazing point is that it is the only resident in the whole world which suffers the same disease AIDS as we do. Although the types of virus are different that the AIDS infects the human is HIV while that infects the cats is FIV, their gene structure is similar.
Recently, a group of scientists got the benefit from these identities that they did the experiment with the special cat and modified the egg of the cats with the infection of virus containing the gene, which prevents human from being infected by FIV. The experiment was successful and the result came out from that is quite valuable.

The group is made of 5 scientists: Pimprapar Wongsrikeao, Dyana Saenz, Tommy Rinkoski, Takeshige Otoi &  Eric Poeschla. They worked together to use the technology, which was different from the normal one that instead of using somatic cell nuclear transfer( the method used to clone Dolly) they used the virus encoding with the gene called TRIMCyp, which is the main reason why human won’t be infected by FIV, together with the gene of fluorescent protein. And then they infected the virus with the cat’s sperm and injected them into the fallopian tubes of 22 female cats (each contains 30 to 50 eggs).Later, 5 of them got pregnancy and 10 out of 11 embryos contained the new gene. And 5 baby cats were produced with 3 of them survived and kept healthy. Also the brightly green fluorescent light in their fur and skin represented the scientists the places the new gene activated, as shown by the figure below. The result shows a higher success rate, which is 23%.

To conclude, the experiment gives the world a suggestion to use cat as an experimental animal, because its special identities can give scientists a better resource than mouse to do some experiments. Also, the use of the method in this experiment is important, because it was the first time this method being used in a carnivore, which was a big step in the biomedical world. And the high result shows its strength that it can be used in other experiments to solve more biological questions. The last but not least is that, use this as a base, the scientists may discover the way to deal with the AIDS and save more human beings in the future.

Reference: Eric Poeschla, Antiviral restriction factor transgenesis in the domestic cat, viewed 18 March 2012

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