Efficient creation of an APOE knockout rabbit

Diana Ji, Guojun Zhao, Allison Songstad, Xiaoxia Cui, Edward J. Weinstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The rabbit is a preferred model system for diverse areas of human disease research, such as hypertension and atherosclerosis, for its close resemblance to human physiology. Its larger size than that of rodents allows for more convenient physiological and surgical manipulations as well as imaging. The rapid development of nuclease technologies enables the rabbit genome to be engineered as readily as that of rats and mice, offering rabbit models a chance to make their due impact on medical research. Here, we report the efficient creation of an APOE knockout rabbit by using zinc finger nucleases. The knockout rabbits had drastically elevated cholesterol and moderately increased triglyceride levels, mimicking symptoms in human heart disease. So far the rabbit genome has been successfully modified with three nuclease technologies. With a gestation period only days longer than those of rodents, we hope additional reports on their creation and characterization will help encourage the use of rabbit models where they are most relevant to human conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-235
Number of pages9
JournalTransgenic Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 18 2015


  • APOE
  • Animal model
  • Gene targeting
  • Knockout rabbit
  • Zinc finger nuclease (ZFN)


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