Genetics and genomics was the topic of most talks today, the last day of the conference. Jessica Satkoski Trask from the University of California, Davis said in her talk that when it comes to the availability of genetic tools, nonhuman primates (NHPs) have a long way to go compared with mice or fruit flies. “If you want a knock out mouse, you call the knock out mouse store and they send you the mice,” she said, referring to mice that have a gene knocked out. In contrast, “rhesus macaques and primates are not set up as a genetic model yet. There is going to be a need for a more and more diverse set of genetic tools.” 

Speakers today continued to discuss the development of nonhuman primate (NHP) models that can mimic different aspects of HIV infection and pathogenesis. Cristian Apetrei from the University of Pittsburgh described the development of an NHP model of elite controllers, HIV-infected individuals who control virus replication below detectable levels without treatment. Apetrei and colleagues infected rhesus macaques with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)agm, the SIV that naturally infects African green monkeys without causing disease. The rhesus macaques infected this way showed symptoms resembling human elite controllers. Apetrei said that having such a model is important because it makes it possible to study how elite control develops early after infection. 

“Food in New Orleans is more of a religion,” Andrew Lackner, director of the Tulane National Primate Research Center (TNPRC), said in the opening remarks at this year’s 28th Annual Symposium on Nonhuman Primate Models for AIDS, which is taking place from October 19-22 in New Orleans. It was therefore quite appropriate that the almost 200 conference participants were given a New Orleans cookbook, which features “fifty-seven classic Creole recipes that will enable everyone to enjoy the special cuisine of New Orleans.”