WASHINGTON, August 28 – A team of scientists at the University of Georgia has successfully performed gene editing on reptiles and a pair of albino lizards the size of one human forefinger.
In an article describing the breakthrough in the journal Cell Press yesterday, the researchers said he could help us better understand visual problems in people with albinism.
High-Performance Gene Processing The technology known as CRISPR has led to major breakthroughs in mice, plants and humans, but due to significant differences in reproduction, it has been impossible to use them for reptile work.
"For some time now, we have been grappling with the modification of reptile genomes and manipulating genes into reptiles, but we are not sure how to process genes in key model systems," said Doug Menke, co-author of an article the work in Cell Press yesterday.
In contrast, gene editing techniques have been extensively studied on so-called major model systems such as mice, chickens, and certain fish and frog species.
CRISPR Gene Editing is Normally Used However, the technique is difficult to apply to freshly fertilized eggs or single-celled zygotes.
If you try after fertilization, millions of cells have already grown and are trying to invade the leather. A flexible sheath at this stage could kill the embryo, Menke told AFP.
The alternative is to perform the technique before fertilization. However, premature injection of CRISPR reagents means they are wasted.
That leaves a narrow window for them to be effective, but since the sperm is stored for a long time in the women's fallopian tubes, it was difficult to guess when it would come to a fertilization.
Menke and his colleagues found that the transparent membrane above the ovary allowed them to see which eggs needed to be fertilized next and decided to inject them with the CRISPR reagents just before this occurred.
Not only did it work, but to their surprise, the gene changes ended in both mothers -line and paternal DNA, not just the former, as they had predicted.
But why did they decide to make the lizards albino?
The first and most obvious reason, said Menke, to prove that their technique was successful: "When we see an albino lizard, it's really obvious that it works." Second, switching off the tyrosinase gene that results in albinism is not lethal to the animal.
Finally, people with albinism often have vision problems, and researchers can use the index finger lizards as a model to study how the gene affects the development of the retina.
"There is a structure in the human eye called the fovea, such a pit-like structure It is really important for high visual acuity, and the main animals that are used for biomedical research, such as mice, do not have it," said Menke.
"That's why we wanted to develop a new animal model to study fovea defects. It turns out that these lizards need high visual acuity because they have a fovea in their eyes when hunting insects.
The team says the technique could be applied to birds that have been genetically engineered in the past, but more complex processes have been used.
Since CRISPR (also known by the full name CRISPR-Cas9) was launched more than a decade ago, it has been used for a number of potentially groundbreaking applications: from reducing the severity of genetic deafness in mice to human Controversial immunize babies against HIV.
Menke argued that it was essential to broaden the scope of the technology for animals.
"There is no doubt that every species has something to say if we take the time to develop the methods to do it," he said. – AFP