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Developments in research on artificial chromosomes

Genetic Crossroads
November 21st, 1999

A Canadian biotech company reported in October that artificial

chromosomes inserted into the genome of mice have been inherited
by the engineered mice's offspring. According to the October 23,
1999 issue of the New Scientist, Chromos Molecular Systems of
British Columbia reported the experiment at a London conference
on biotechnology. Chromos says it will use the technology to
create herds of genetically modified animals whose milk will
contain pharmaceuticals.

The company says it won't let its technology be used in efforts
to manipulate the human germline. But advocates of human germline
engineering, such as Gregory Stock and John Campbell, argue that
artificial chromosomes will be the best way to attempt human genetic
manipulation. They believe that human artificial chromosomes (HACs)
may overcome the delivery problems and the limited capacity of viral
vectors, allowing them both to avoid interfering with natural
chromosomes, and to put into one package the multiple genes that
would be needed to produce most traits. (See TEEL #2, 10/5/99.)

For the New Scientist coverage, see
<http://www.newscientist.com/ns/19991023/newsstory6.html>
<http://www.newscientist.com/ns/19991023/editorial.html>

The Chromos web site is <http://www.chromos.com>.


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