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Showing posts from March, 2007

Baby, you're a knockout - RNA interference and Transgenic organisms

One of the most powerful ways to find out what a gene does is to disable the gene in a seed, an ova or an embryo, grow the resulting 'transgenic' organism and find out what functions are missing.  This approach is being done for mustard seed and mice in order  to identify the function of each gene in these 'model organisms'.   Since many genes are re-used in other organisms, it is hoped that determining the function of each of the 29,500 mustard seed genes will shed insight into the genetics of other plants, and that determining the function of the murine genes in transgenic mice will translate into knowledge of the genetics of other mammals, like humans.  1000s of varieties of mustard From the NSF: To create a gene knockout, scientists use a bacterium called Agrobacterium to insert a code that tells a specific gene to turn off. According to Ecker, this process of T-DNA integration has been carried out for well over 25 years, but this study provides a new perspective …