Special Resource Programs
The purpose of the Special Resource Programs is to ensure that the animal needs of the various research programs are met. The current programs are Primate Genetics, Aging Nonhuman Primates, and Obese Nonhuman Primates.
The Primate Genetics Program is composed of three individual units providing different areas of expertise within the overall field of genetics: Collaborative Genetic Resources, Colony Genetics and Demographics, and Biostatistics. The staff of these units works to address the genetic research and analytic needs for colony management in the Division of Animal Resources, for research investigators in the Scientific Divisions, and, as appropriate, for collaborative and contract research. The program address both current needs and is building resources to meet future needs, through the establishment of DNA banks, long-term phenotyping projects and the support of multicenter studies. In total, the units will work together to provide the genetic resources (a well-pedigreed and characterized colony, support for study design, genetic material acquisition, and statistical analysis) necessary to capitalize on the wealth of genetic research opportunity that the ONPRC rhesus macaque colony represents.
The Aging Nonhuman Primate Resource provides animals necessary for accelerated research on aging and diseases of old age, and is an important component of the Biology of Aging Program and Healthy Aging Alliance. The combination of the baby-boomer expansion and increased longevity has lead to a rapid expansion of the elderly population in the U.S. and other industrialized nations. Recently, the leading edge of this population has entered retirement, and it is anticipated that the escalation in the number of people with increased fragility and chronic, progressive illnesses will be a challenge to the management of health care and social services. Basic and applied research can combine to delay, diminish, and in some cases, cure maladies that are associated with advanced age.
The Obese Nonhuman Primate Resource is comprised of three colonies of macaques that become obese when fed a high-fat/high-calorie diet (HF diet). The Japanese macaque model supports investigations on the effects of maternal diet and metabolic health on the development of metabolic systems in the offspring; the Rhesus macaque model is employed for studies testing pharmaceutical therapeutics for obesity, insulin resistance, and cardiovascular disease; and the Cynomolgous macaque model supports research models that investigate metabolic disease in nonhuman primates. All three models are used for research in the Metabolic Disease Working Group. These models are being expanded in an effort to understand the progression of the disease as well as to understand the full spectrum of complications that are associated with obesity.