Imagine a Future In Which Genes Will Be Programmable!
by Justina Chu on September 19, 2017 - 12:22am
The study of the function of each gene has been the spotlight of biology. Some scientists have been running experiments for years to push their boundaries. With new biology knowledge, new ideas can be executed.
Two groups of biologists have been performing experiments on butterflies. They are looking at two different genes and examination of their functions. The two genes that are being looked at are both responsible for the color and patterns of the butterflies’ wings. These two genes are the Optix and WntA. Surprisingly, the color of the wings changes not only when Optix was erased or switched off but also when the same manipulations are done on different species. The same happened with WntA and its role on the patterns.
Many other genes are actually depending on these two master genes and their role depends on the species in which they are found. Is this the work of evolution? If so, what is the network of these genes?
All these new knowledge was found with the invention of “Crispr gene-editing tool”. It allowed biologist to control genes and examine their functions. Will these new inventions and knowledge help us find a way to control human genes? If it does, where will it bring us?
This was a summary of the following article, please consult it for more details: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/18/science/butterfly-wing-color-patterns-gene-editing.html.