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December Issue Of Cell Features NIDA-Funded Study That Focuses On The Generation Of Stem Cell Lines In Rats

April 11, 2017

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is pleased to inform you of the recent publication in Cell of a NIDA-funded study titled "Capture of Authentic Embryonic Stem Cells from Rat Blastocysts" that focuses on the generation of a competent embryonic stem (ES) cell line in the rat system.

The advent of a reliable approach for deleting, inserting and modifying genes at will, in a living organism, has been a watershed moment in biomedical research. So much so that last year's Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine was awarded to its early pioneers. The basic technique requires the modification of a gene of interest, which is then used to replace the normal gene in an ES cell line. The resulting genetically modified ES cell is then injected into an early stage embryo where the modified or deleted gene can become a heritable trait. One of the biggest obstacles for the generation of these so called "knocked-in" or "knocked-out" animals is the availability of competent ES cells in that particular animal system. This is why the technology, so far, has been used almost exclusively in mice.

Now, Dr. Austin Smith and his group at the University of Cambridge, supported by NIDA funding, and Dr Qi-Long Ying's group at USC, in back to back articles of the December 26, 2008 issue of CELL, report the generation of a competent ES cell line in the rat system. The ability to create rats in which any gene of interest can be reproducibly modified or deleted represents an important advance. The rat is a far easier organism for carrying out physiological and pharmacological studies, and a particularly more relevant model system to investigate complex mental disorders. Therefore, this breakthrough is poised to significantly enhance researchers' ability to dissect the genetic components of substance use and other psychiatric disorders.

Click here to view abstract online.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world's research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to ensure the rapid dissemination of research information inform policy and improve practice. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs of abuse and information on NIDA research and other activities can be found on the NIDA home page at drugabuse.

National Institute on Drug Abuse