In 2015, at the University of California San Diego two biologists names Ethan Bier and Valentino Gantz developed a new technology called "active genetics" which results in the parents transmitting a genetic trait to most of their offspring. Immediate targets of active genetics included gene-drive systems for immunizing mosquitoes against vector-borne diseases such as malaria.
Now, Shannon Xu is working with Bier and Gantz, employ CRISPR/Cas9 to edit gene regulatory elements in their native genomic environments, revealing new fundamental mechanisms that control gene activity. Gantz in the article says, "Technical advances enabled by active genetics represents an innovative toolkit to engineer organisms with novel features, thereby enabling a new era of advances in synthetic biology." This new innovative discovery in biology helped to analyze the genetic control of a gene responsible for coordinating the formation of a simple structure in fruit flies. Xu says, "These advances should encourage other researchers to employ active genetics in a broad range of organisms to enable and accelerate their research." Along with this, Ethan Bier explains that "This knowledge may eventually lead to biological design based on first principles. That is, acquiring the knowledge to engineer organisms with specifically designed novel features. This new technological advancement in the field of biology can also help wit problems many countries face when it comes to human health and agriculture which is a big step achieved by active genetics.
Link used: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180206100307.htm
Original Study: http://www.ucsd.edu : Materials provided by University of California - San Diego. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
Xiang-Ru Shannon Xu, Valentino Matteo Gantz, Natalia Siomava, Ethan Bier. CRISPR/Cas9 and active genetics-based trans-species replacement of the endogenous Drosophila kni-L2 CRM reveals unexpected complexity. eLife, 2017; 6 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.30281