Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Rhesus monkeys in Nepal may provide new alternative for HIV/AIDS research

02.06.2006
Scientists investigating the genetic makeup of rhesus macaque monkeys, a key species used in biomedical research, have found the rhesus in Nepal may provide a suitable alternative to alleviate a critical shortage of laboratory animals used in work to develop vaccines against diseases such as HIV/AIDS.

Writing in the cover story of the current issue of the American Journal of Primatology, researchers headed by Randall Kyes of the University of Washington report that the Nepali macaques are more closely related genetically to rhesus macaques from India than rhesus macaques of China.

This is important because Indian-origin animals have been used for more than half a century in biomedical and behavioral research. Rhesus macaques have contributed to the discovery of vaccines to prevent diseases such as polio and yellow fever, and represent one of the most widely used primate models for AIDS-related research. India, however, banned the export of all macaques in 1978, thus leading to the current shortage. Although China has been exporting captive-bred animals for sometime, scientists have noted a number of behavioral and physiological differences in disease progression between animals from the two countries, and the Indian-origin macaques are generally preferred in research on certain diseases.

The new study was spearheaded by Kyes, a primatologist and head of the UW’s Division of International Programs at the Washington National Primate Research Center, in collaboration with Mukesh Chalise, president of the Nepal Biodiversity Research Society and a zoologist at Tribhuvan University in Nepal.

Blood samples from 21 Nepali rhesus macaques living at a temple site in Kathmandu were obtained as part of a comprehensive health screening conducted at the temple. These samples were compared with existing samples collected from more than 300 Indian- and Chinese-origin rhesus macaques.

The researchers did sequence analyses of mitochondrial DNA and examined the distribution of certain types of alleles, or pairs of genes, for genetic variations distributed across 17 chromosomes. They also looked for the presence of other alleles that are known to influence immunity and the rate of disease progression in the animals, including one that is present in Indian rhesus macaques but not in the Chinese ones.

Kyes, who also is a UW research associate professor of psychology, said the genetic analyses indicate the Nepali rhesus macaques are genetically similar to Indian-origin rhesus macaques. In addition, while the temple samples were taken from an isolated population, he believes they may be representative of Nepali rhesus macaques in general given the past history of the area and the geographic barrier of the Himalayan Mountains that separates Nepal and India from China.

To facilitate the use of rhesus macaques in research while ensuring the conservation of Nepal’s naturally occurring rhesus populations, the Nepali government enacted a policy in 2003 stipulating that only captive-bred animals may be used for scientific research. The rhesus macaque is prevalent in many countries and is not considered an endangered species. An agreement between the Nepal Biodiversity Research Society and the Washington National Primate Research Center was signed in September 2003 and a captive-breeding facility is now under construction. A breeding colony is expected to be established within 12 months.

"This program will not harm the natural populations because we will establish the self-sustaining breeding colony with a relatively small number of animals that will be acquired from areas of known human-monkey conflicts," said Kyes. "In Nepal, this conflict is caused by monkeys that raid staple crops such as sweet potatoes and corn. Crop raiding is prevalent in many areas in Nepal and in the last five to 10 years there are many instances of local people seeking to solve this problem by chasing or killing macaques.

"One of the goals of our international program is to assist our collaborators in creating the first primate research center in Nepal and to help address some of Nepal’s most pressing health concerns that include HIV, tuberculosis, hepatitis and malaria.

"In addition, the program has a strong conservation thrust. Establishing this center will allow more resources to be dedicated to primate conservation in Nepal because it has the potential to generate significant funding that can be directed toward the management and conservation of natural populations. This kind of program has been effective in other habitat countries and is supported by the World Health Organization and the World Conservation Union," he said.

Joel Schwarz | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.washington.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Nesting aids make agricultural fields attractive for bees
20.07.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht The Kitchen Sponge – Breeding Ground for Germs
20.07.2017 | Hochschule Furtwangen

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

Leipzig HTP-Forum discusses "hydrothermal processes" as a key technology for a biobased economy

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers create new technique for manipulating polarization of terahertz radiation

20.07.2017 | Information Technology

High-tech sensing illuminates concrete stress testing

20.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

First direct observation and measurement of ultra-fast moving vortices in superconductors

20.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>