Genomics and clinical medicine: rationale for creating and effectively evaluating animal models.
Because resolving human complex diseases is difficult, appropriate biomedical models must be developed and validated. In the past, researchers have studied diseases either by characterizing a human clinical disease and choosing the most appropriate animal model, or by characterizing a naturally occurring or induced mutant animal and identifying which human disease it best resembled. Although there has been a great deal of progress through the use of these methods, such models have intrinsic faults that limit their relevance to clinical medicine. The recent advent of techniques in molecular biology, genomics, transgenesis, and cloning furnishes investigators with the ability to study vertebrates (e.g., pigs, cows, chickens, dogs) with greater precision and utilize them as model organisms. Comparative and functional genomics and proteomics provide effective approaches for identifying the genetic and environmental factors responsible for complex diseases and in the development of prevention and treatment strategies and therapeutics. By identifying and studying homologous genes across species, researchers are able to accurately translate and apply experimental data from animal experiments to humans. This review supports the hypothesis that associated enabling technologies can be used to create, de novo, appropriate animal models that recapitulate the human clinical manifestation. Comparative and functional genomic and proteomic techniques can then be used to identify gene and protein functions and the interactions responsible for disease phenotypes, which aids in the development of prevention and treatment strategies.
Swanson, KS; Mazur, MJ; Vashisht, K; Rund, LA; Beever, JE; Counter, CM; Schook, LB
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