Saturday, August 1, 2020

CRISPR-Cas9 Used For First Gene Knockout in a Cephalopod

CRISPR-Cas9 is the most simple and precise method of genome editing today, and it was used to knock out a gene from a cephalopod genome for the first time in history. Scientists used an important species of squid used often for research in recent decades, known as the Doryteuthis pealeii. From the embryos, they knocked out a pigmentation gene affecting skin and eye cells. The researchers’ goal was to test the organism’s function after the edit so as to make it a more useful research organism, alongside fruit flies, zebrafish, and mice. This could lead to further study and advancement in various fields of science, as cephalopods are extremely sophisticated in all aspects of their being.

Having been able to knock out a gene from one of the most advanced forms of life gives researchers hope for further discovery, including knocking in genes. Such genes could facilitate research, making cephalopods more useful to scientists. This particular species of squid has led neurobiologists to make numerous discoveries in the past, but they will not likely be effective in genetics research. While knocking out a gene from the D. pealeii was challenging yet very efficient, they are too large and have not yet been found to be cultured in the lab through multiple generations. There is hope that in the near future, smaller cephalopods, such as the Euprymna berryi, could become effective research organisms in the field of genetics.


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