The gene-knock-out process is one of the most important genetic techniques used to change the genetic composition of mammalian creatures. Usually used on mice, it involves a number of complex processes and methods that can be used to facilitate the inactivation of a gene. Whether we are talking about conditional or regular gene knockouts, or about advanced methods such as CRISPR / Cas9 and TALENs, the method can be considered as one of the most effective when it comes to studying human diseases.
Understand the basic principles of Gene Knockout
Some techniques for manipulating genes are used to modify or add genetic material to the genome of a particular organism. Others are used to remove or deactivate certain genes. The gene knockout is a method that falls under the last category. It typically involves the use of an animal model such as a laboratory mouse (also known as a knock-out mouse) and an apparatus such as zinc fingers, homologous recombination or the CRISPR / Cas9 technique for obtaining knockouts. There are different types of knockouts, depending on the type of target, the conditions involved in the method or the number of knock-out genes. Double, triple and even quadruple knockouts are all possible. One must also distinguish between homozygous and heterozygous knockouts.
Who is doing research on gene knockouts?
The knock-out of genes in the mammalian genome has been done for a number of years and the methods are being perfected almost every year. Nowadays, there are numerous universities and scientific institutions, as well as amateurs, who are trying to make new KOs using established gene-knock-out methods. Recently, the International Knockout Mouse Consortium has expressed the goal of eliminating every single gene in the mouse genome and they have already started. A recent article, published by Karen Svenson, Robert Braun and Stephen Murray, has already documented the detailed analysis of the first 3328 genes.
What happens when we switch off a gene?
A gene knockout is essentially a tool that helps researchers understand the role of a specific gene or a certain part of the DNA. By eliminating or deactivating a particular gene, scientists can use this method to study the process where disease occurs as a result of the deactivation or impairment of certain genes. When the gene is switched off, the organism begins to show symptoms that are the result of gene abnormalities. Researchers then have the opportunity to use different methods to solve the problem. Knockouts are therefore often used as disease models that help geneticists understand the origins of certain diseases.
Knockouts and human diseases
Our understanding of human health and disease has grown exponentially since knockouts appeared on the scene. The first gene knockout was developed more than 30 years ago and the process is still being perfected. Since then, innumerable genetic models of human diseases have been developed by humanized mice and research carried out directly on embryonic stem cells. Whether it happens naturally or is the result of laboratory tests, humanized knockout mice have become an important tool for studying genetic diseases such as Krabbe disease and muscular dystrophy. They are also used in the study of cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and many other known disorders that can be linked to genetics, but can only develop under certain conditions.
Beat out Microphone and their important role
Using knock-out mice, genetic resCauses have not only made important breakthroughs in understanding the onset of certain diseases, but also in their treatment. Humanized mice help prevent human subjects from being used in studies that would normally be dangerous or unethical. Moreover, researchers using humanized mice are better able to understand the function of genes when they relate to each other. As a result, the use of a single or multiple gene knockout can often lead to unrivaled discoveries that are normally difficult to achieve.