2001 Volume 50 Issue 2 Pages 125-131
Transgenic mammals, from small laboratory rodents to domestic animals, have been successfully produced to date, but their production efficiency within or across species has been variable. This is probably due to the differences in the type of injected DNA and/or technical procedures employed in each laboratory, as well as the reproductive characteristics of the species. Here we report the direct comparison of the efficiencies of producing transgenic mice, rats, rabbits and pigs by one technician using a fusion gene composed of the bovine αS1-casein promoter and human growth hormone (hGH) gene. Before the fusion gene was injected into the zygotes, high magnitude centrifugation to visualize the pronuclei was necessary for all of the pig zygotes and one-third of the rabbit zygotes, but not for mouse and rat zygotes. Post-injection survival of the mouse zygotes (67.1%) was lower than those of the rat, rabbit and pig zygotes (89.6 to 100%). The volume change of the pronucleus following DNA injection was the lowest in mice (50% increase), moderate in rabbits (148% increase), and the most prominent in rats (238% increase). The data from only 1 pig zygote indicated a 22% increase in the pronucleus volume by DNA injection. The PCR analyses of the tail DNA of new born offspring indicated that 0.8% (4/493), 4.8% (22/463), 0.8% (3/367) and 0.9% (2/221) of the injected eggs in mice, rats, rabbits and pigs, respectively, developed into transgenic offspring. Some of the founder animals in all four species expressed the transgene in the mammary gland which was confirmed in hGH mRNA by RT-PCR and/or hGH peptide in Witch's milk with ELISA. These results suggest that the maximum volume of DNA solution injectable into the pronucleus is a possible factor explaining the species differences in the production of transgenic animals.