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Microinjection of foreign DNA into pronuclei of zygotes has been the method of choice for the production of transgenic domestic animals. Following microinjection the transgene is randomly integrated into the host genome which can be associated with insertional mutagenesis and unwanted pathological side effects.
Here, we evaluated the health status of pigs transgenic for the human regulator of complement activation (RCA) CD59 and conducted a complete pathomorphological examination on 19 RCA transgenic pigs at 1 to 32 months of age from nine transgenic lines. Nine wild-type animals served as controls. Expression levels of human complement regulator CD59 (hCD59) mRNA were measured by RT-PCR and distribution of hCD59 protein was determined by immunohistochemistry.
Albeit variable transgene expression levels, no specific pathomorphologic phenotype associated with the presence of the transgene in all analyzed pig lines could be detected.
Transgenic expression of this human RCA gene construct is not correlated with a specific pathological phenotype in pigs. This is crucial for the application of the technology and the use of transgenic pigs for biomedical and agricultural applications.