The common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) is increasingly attractive for use as a non-human primate animal model in biomedical research. It has a relatively high reproduction rate for a primate, making it potentially suitable for transgenic modification. Although several attempts have been made to produce non-human transgenic primates, transgene expression in the somatic tissues of live infants has not been demonstrated by objective analyses such as polymerase chain reaction with reverse transcription or western blots. Here we show that the injection of a self-inactivating lentiviral vector in sucrose solution into marmoset embryos results in transgenic common marmosets that expressed the transgene in several organs. Notably, we achieved germline transmission of the transgene, and the transgenic offspring developed normally. The successful creation of transgenic marmosets provides a new animal model for human disease that has the great advantage of a close genetic relationship with humans. This model will be valuable to many fields of biomedical research.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1.

    Marmoset models commonly used in biomedical research. Comp. Med. 53, 383–392 (2003)

  2. 2.

    , , , & Transgenic cattle produced by reverse-transcribed gene transfer in oocytes. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 95, 14028–14033 (1998)

  3. 3.

    et al. Efficient transgenesis in farm animals by lentiviral vectors. EMBO Rep. 4, 1054–1060 (2003)

  4. 4.

    et al. Generation of transgenic cattle by lentiviral gene transfer into oocytes. Biol. Reprod. 71, 405–409 (2004)

  5. 5.

    , , , & Transgenic monkeys produced by retroviral gene transfer into mature oocytes. Science 291, 309–312 (2001)

  6. 6.

    et al. Rhesus monkey placental transgene expression after lentiviral gene transfer into preimplantation embryos. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 98, 10728–10732 (2001)

  7. 7.

    et al. Towards a transgenic model of Huntington’s disease in a non-human primate. Nature 453, 921–924 (2008)

  8. 8.

    et al. Disruption of the CFTR gene produces a model of cystic fibrosis in newborn pigs. Science 321, 1837–1841 (2008)

  9. 9.

    et al. Production of CFTR-null and CFTR-ΔF508 heterozygous pigs by adeno-associated virus-mediated gene targeting and somatic cell nuclear transfer. J. Clin. Invest. 118, 1571–1577 (2008)

  10. 10.

    , , , & Development of a self-inactivating lentivirus vector. J. Virol. 72, 8150–8157 (1998)

  11. 11.

    , & Germ-line chimerism and paternal care in marmosets (Callithrix kuhlii). Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 104, 6278–6282 (2007)

  12. 12.

    et al. Induction of pluripotent stem cells from adult human fibroblasts by defined factors. Cell 131, 861–872 (2007)

  13. 13.

    et al. Induced pluripotent stem cell lines derived from human somatic cells. Science 318, 1917–1920 (2007)

  14. 14.

    et al. Producing primate embryonic stem cells by somatic cell nuclear transfer. Nature 450, 497–502 (2007)

  15. 15.

    et al. Generation of induced pluripotent stem cells without Myc from mouse and human fibroblasts. Nature Biotechnol. 26, 101–106 (2008)

  16. 16.

    et al. Transplantation of human neural stem cells for spinal cord injury in primates. J. Neurosci. Res. 80, 182–190 (2005)

  17. 17.

    et al. Embryonic stem cell lines derived from human blastocysts. Science 282, 1145–1147 (1998)

  18. 18.

    et al. Establishment of graded spinal cord injury model in a nonhuman primate: the common marmoset. J. Neurosci. Res. 80, 172–181 (2005)

  19. 19.

    Marmoset monkey models of Parkinson’s disease: which model, when and why? Brain Res. Bull. 68, 140–149 (2005)

  20. 20.

    et al. Neurobehavioral protection by single dose l-deprenyl against MPTP-induced parkinsonism in common marmosets. Psychopharmacology (Berl.) 195, 509–516 (2008)

  21. 21.

    et al. Establishment of novel embryonic stem cell lines derived from the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus). Stem Cells 23, 1304–1313 (2005)

  22. 22.

    , & Births following the transfer of cultured embryos obtained by in vitro and in vivo fertilization in the marmoset monkey (Callithrix jacchus). Fertil. Steril. 50, 503–509 (1988)

  23. 23.

    , , & The effects of cryopreservation and transfer on embryonic development in the common marmoset monkey, Callithrix jacchus. J. Reprod. Fertil. 79, 241–250 (1987)

  24. 24.

    , , , & Non-invasive collection of ejaculates from the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) using penile vibrostimulation. Am. J. Primatol. 52, 149–154 (2000)

  25. 25.

    , , & The effects of cryopreservation and transfer on embryonic development in the common marmoset monkey, Callithrix jacchus. J. Reprod. Fertil. 79, 241–250 (1987)

  26. 26.

    et al. Effective transduction and stable transgene expression in human blood cells by a third-generation lentiviral vector. Gene Ther. 10, 1446–1457 (2003)

  27. 27.

    et al. Novel monoclonal antibodies recognizing different subsets of lymphocytes from the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus). Immunol. Lett. 121, 116–122 (2008)

Download references


We thank F. Toyoda, S. Ohba, T. Inoue, Y. Sawada and M. Yokoyama for technical assistance with the animal experiments and care. E.S. is an associate professor of the Global COE program for human metabolomic systems biology assigned to Keio University. This study was also supported by the Global COE program for Education and Research Centre for Stem Cell Medicine from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), the Japanese Government to Keio University. This study was also supported by funds from Solution-Oriented Research for Science and Technology (SORST) of the Japan Science and Technology Agency and grants from MEXT to H.O. and from Special Coordination Funds for Promoting Science and Technology of MEXT to S.H.

Author Contributions E.S. designed the experiments, conducted the project, and wrote the paper. A.S., Y.S., T.E., I.T. and R.H. assisted in embryological technique development. K.H., R.O. and M.K. developed surgical techniques for embryo collection and transfer. H.S., C.K. and C.Y. performed or assisted with the real-time PCR and parentage evaluation test. S.S. and T.M. assisted with the Southern blot analysis and tissue collection. M.I. raised the anti-marmoset CD45 antibody. R.I. performed the FACS analysis, and K.K. performed the immunohistochemical analysis. H.M. provided the lentiviral vectors. Y.T., H.O., S.H., N.T. and T.N. designed the project, and H.O., S.H. and N.T. also participated in writing the paper. The whole project was supervised by E.S. and H.O.

Author information


  1. Central Institute for Experimental Animals, 1430 Nogawa, Miyamae-ku, Kawasaki, Kanagawa 216-0001, Japan

    • Erika Sasaki
    • , Hiroshi Suemizu
    • , Akiko Shimada
    • , Ryo Oiwa
    • , Michiko Kamioka
    • , Ikuo Tomioka
    • , Reiko Hirakawa
    • , Tomoo Eto
    • , Seiji Shiozawa
    • , Takuji Maeda
    • , Mamoru Ito
    • , Ryoji Ito
    • , Chika Kito
    • , Chie Yagihashi
    • , Kenji Kawai
    • , Yoshikuni Tanioka
    • , Norikazu Tamaoki
    •  & Tatsuji Nomura
  2. Department of Urology, Juntendo University Nerima Hospital 3-1-10 Takanodai, Nerima-ku, Tokyo 177-8521, Japan

    • Kisaburo Hanazawa
  3. Center for Integrated Medical Research,

    • Ikuo Tomioka
    •  & Reiko Hirakawa
  4. Department of Physiology, Keio University School of Medicine, 35 Shinanomachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-8582, Japan

    • Seiji Shiozawa
    • , Takuji Maeda
    •  & Hideyuki Okano
  5. Natural Science Centre for Basic Research and Development, Hiroshima University 1-2-3, Kasumi, Minami-ku, Hiroshima 734-8551, Japan

    • Yusuke Sotomaru
  6. Subteam for Manipulation of Cell Fate, RIKEN BioResource Centre, 3-1-1 Koyadai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0074, Japan

    • Hiroyuki Miyoshi
  7. Department of Immunology, Tokai University School of Medicine, Bohseidai, Isehara, Kanagawa 259-1193, Japan

    • Sonoko Habu


  1. Search for Erika Sasaki in:

  2. Search for Hiroshi Suemizu in:

  3. Search for Akiko Shimada in:

  4. Search for Kisaburo Hanazawa in:

  5. Search for Ryo Oiwa in:

  6. Search for Michiko Kamioka in:

  7. Search for Ikuo Tomioka in:

  8. Search for Yusuke Sotomaru in:

  9. Search for Reiko Hirakawa in:

  10. Search for Tomoo Eto in:

  11. Search for Seiji Shiozawa in:

  12. Search for Takuji Maeda in:

  13. Search for Mamoru Ito in:

  14. Search for Ryoji Ito in:

  15. Search for Chika Kito in:

  16. Search for Chie Yagihashi in:

  17. Search for Kenji Kawai in:

  18. Search for Hiroyuki Miyoshi in:

  19. Search for Yoshikuni Tanioka in:

  20. Search for Norikazu Tamaoki in:

  21. Search for Sonoko Habu in:

  22. Search for Hideyuki Okano in:

  23. Search for Tatsuji Nomura in:

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Erika Sasaki or Hideyuki Okano.

Supplementary information

PDF files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Information

    This file contains Supplementary Tables 1-3 and Supplementary Figures 1-5 with Legends.

About this article

Publication history





Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.