Genetically modified tree shrew aids health tests
Chinese scientists have developed methods to make the world's first genetically modified tree shrews, paving the way for the production of “knockout” tree shrews for experimental use, according to research paper published by Cell Research, a monthly peer-reviewed scientific journal by the Nature Publishing Group.
The tree shrew, a small, fluffy mammal that looks like a squirrel, is an ideal laboratory animal because it shares a higher degree of similarities with humans than rats do. However, the species’ timidity has prevented it from contributing to studies on human health.
“The tree shrew has a nervous system and an immune system that share many more similarities with primates, making it suitable for medical research on neurological diseases and infectious diseases,” said Zheng Ping, a researcher at the Kunming Institute of Zoology.