Baboon Model for Genetics of Human Generalized Epilepsy
The red baboon (Papio hamadryas papio) was first explored more than thirty years ago as a nonhuman primate model of primary generalized epilepsy in humans, and remains one of the best characterized electroclinical animal models for juvenile myoclonic epilepsy. Epilepsy is easily studied in the baboon because these animals are highly susceptible to photic stimulation to provoke neuronal discharges and seizures that are sensitive markers of their epileptic syndrome. The goal of this project is to develop additional species of baboon (P.h. anubis [olive], P.h. cynocephalus [yellow], and their hybrids) as a nonhuman primate model for the genetics of primary generalized epilepsy in humans. The baboon is ideal for development as a genetic model because baboon and human share many genetic, anatomical, biochemical, and physiological features. The evolutionary proximity of baboon and human, and the high degree of conservation of gene order between these species, imply that genetic factors identified in the baboon genome will be directly relevant to the genetic situation in the human.