ST. LOUIS, April 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Sigma-Aldrich® Corporation (Nasdaq: SIAL) today announced that Sigma Advanced Genetic Engineering (SAGE) Labs, an initiative of Sigma® Life Science, extended CompoZr® Zinc Finger Nuclease (ZFN) technology to achieve the first tissue-specific conditional knockout of an endogenous gene in rats. For two decades this approach for generating sophisticated disease models could be performed only in mice. Rats, however, are preferred by drug discovery and basic researchers because the animal's physiology, neurobiology and other features are more predictive of human conditions. Rats engineered to contain tissue-specific conditional gene knockouts are available exclusively through the SAGEspeed™ Custom Model Development Service. Details are available at www.sageresearchmodels.com/conditional-KO.
Conventional gene knockout eliminates a gene throughout an entire animal. In contrast, conditional gene knockout can eliminate a gene solely in the relevant tissue or organ, leading to a more accurate understanding of the gene's function. Conditional gene knockout can also knock out genes at certain points in development, enabling studies of genes whose absence in embryos is lethal, but whose loss of function in adulthood is critical to investigate for many human diseases.
"Almost 89% of drug candidates fail to achieve approval," said Edward Weinstein, Director of SAGE Labs. "Basic and drug discovery researchers need access to more predictive animal models whose physiology, biology, and genetics more closely reflect specific human conditions. SAGE Labs is applying ZFN technology to achieve previously impossible genetic manipulations, such as tissue-specific gene deletion in rats."
Using the conditional knockout methodology, scientists at SAGE Labs have generated a pair of rat lines in which two important neuronal genes, Crhr1 and Grin1, were removed in specific neuronal populations. Crhr1 and Grin1 have been implicated as playing a role in depression and schizophrenia, respectively. The rat lines were developed through the SAGEspeed model creation process, which uses Sigma's CompoZr ZFN technology to create sophisticated genetic modifications in rats, mice, rabbits, and other organisms. CompoZr ZFN technology is the first to enable highly efficient, targeted editing of the genome of any species.
For more information and to request pricing, visit www.sageresearchmodels.com.
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About Sigma Life Science: Sigma Life Science is a Sigma-Aldrich business that represents the Company's leadership in innovative biological products and services for the global life science market and offers an array of biologically-rich products and reagents that researchers use in scientific investigation. Product areas include biomolecules, genomics and functional genomics, cells and cell-based assays, transgenics, protein assays, stem cell research, epigenetics and custom services/oligonucleotides. Sigma Life Science also provides an extensive range critical bioessentials like biochemicals, antibiotics, buffers, carbohydrates, enzymes, forensic tools, hematology and histology, nucleotides, amino acids and their derivatives, and cell culture media.
About Sigma-Aldrich: Sigma-Aldrich is a leading Life Science and High Technology company whose biochemical, organic chemical products, kits and services are used in scientific research, including genomic and proteomic research, biotechnology, pharmaceutical development, the diagnosis of disease and as key components in pharmaceutical, diagnostics and high technology manufacturing. Sigma-Aldrich customers include more than 1.3 million scientists and technologists in life science companies, university and government institutions, hospitals and industry. The Company operates in 40 countries and has nearly 9,000 employees whose objective is to provide excellent service worldwide. Sigma-Aldrich is committed to accelerating customer success through innovation and leadership in Life Science and High Technology. For more information about Sigma-Aldrich, please visit its website at www.sigma-aldrich.com.
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