Generation of genetically modified animals using spermatogonial stem cells


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Spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) provide the foundation for spermatogenesis, and are unique tissue-specific stem cells because of their ability to transmit genetic information to offspring. Generation of knockout mice using mouse SSCs became feasible after the successful establishment of protocols for the transplantation and long-term culture of these cells, called germline stem (GS) cells. Furthermore, SSCs can acquire pluripotentiality similar to that of embryonic stem (ES) cells, in addition to their highly differentiated spermatogenic potential. These ES-like cells, called multipotent GS (mGS) cells, are capable of generating knockout mice in a manner similar to that of ES cells. The use of GS and mGS cells for animal transgenesis has added a new dimension to gene-targeting technology using ES cells and somatic cell nuclear transfer, which has limited application. Furthermore, for regenerative medicine purposes, the use of mGS will settle problems such as ethics issues and immunological rejection associated with ES cells, as well as risks of insertional mutagenesis associated with integrated genes into induced pluripotent stem cells.