Jumping genes make ‘designer’ animals easy

April 11, 2002 | Source: New Scientist

Biotech company Tosk says it can add genes to mammalian cells with unprecedented efficiency with the help of fruit fly DNA that can jump in and out of chromosomes.
Introducing genes into mammals is laborious and expensive at present. The new method promises to make genetically modified mammals cheap and easy and could even be used to correct genetic faults in people.

GM mammals are usually made by injecting naked DNA directly into an egg, requiring dozens of injections and then implanting the resulting embryos. With the new method, using jumping genes, or transposons, the extra DNA is simply injected into an animal’s bloodstream.