Transgenic animals are of outstanding relevance for medical sciences, because they can be used to model human diseases and to develop gene therapy strategies. A recent development is lentiviral transgenesis: The generation of transgenic animals by lentiviral transduction of oocytes or early embryos. Lentiviral transgenesis is an efficient method to express transgenes in mice and rats as well as in biomedically relevant livestock. Thus, the applications of this technology range from the generation of disease models to gene pharming for human proteins. An important extension of viral transgenesis is the combination of lentiviral gene transfer with RNA interference. Thereby, expression of specific genes can be silenced and loss-of-function models can be generated. Finally, lentiviral transgenic animals can be used to directly evaluate gene therapy strategies that are based on lentiviral vectors prior to their use in humans.
Keywords: Lentiviral vectors, transgenesis, transgenic animals, RNA interference, chimeric mice, gene therapy
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