Researchers from ETH Zurich have developed a method to genetically modify individual animal cells. Using the CRISPR-Cas gene scissors, the researchers aim to simplify and speed up the research process with laboratory animals by simultaneously making several gene changes in the cells of a single animal.
The causes of genetic diseases are usually determined by multiple genes. However, it is difficult for scientists to determine specific genes involved in the disease. Hence, the researchers created a method that targets each cell differently. In this study, they used particles of adeno-associated virus (AAV), a virus that delivers genetic material into cells, to destroy different genes in the brain cells of adult mice.
Interestingly, this method demonstrates clues to a rare genetic disorder in humans known as 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. According to António Santinha, a doctoral student in Platt's group and lead author of the study, this technique could also be used in studying other genetic disorders because multiple genes are involved in many congenital disorders.
(Source: Crop Biotech Update, International Service for Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications. www.isaaa.org)