Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Jefferson Scientists Use Gene Repair Technique To Change Albino Mice Hairs To Black

Date:
December 29, 1999
Source:
Jefferson Medical College
Summary:
Researchers at Jefferson Medical College have used an innovative “gene repair” technique to genetically change white albino mice hairs to black. The technique has not only turned hairs black, but has showed that such changes are stable and long lasting in skin cells.

The technique may someday be used in treating inherited disease

Related Articles


Researchers at Jefferson Medical College have used an innovative “gene repair” technique to genetically change white albino mice hairs to black. The technique has not only turned hairs black, but has showed that such changes are stable and long lasting in skin cells.

The work holds promise as a potential treatment for some hereditary diseases by correcting the genetic mutation from which they arise.

Kyonggeun Yoon, PhD, associate professor of dermatology and cutaneous biology and biochemistry and molecular pharmacology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and postdoctoral fellow Vitali Alexeev, PhD, in collaboration with a team of scientists at the University of Pennsylvania, corrected a single alteration in the gene that controls skin color in albino mice cells.

The scientists, in what they dub “localized gene therapy,” delivered a small oligonucleotide – DNA interspersed with small amounts of RNA – to the melanocytes, or skin color-producing cells. The “oligo” triggers the actual gene repair process. They both injected the oligonucleotide and applied it topically.

The researchers’ work appears in the January issue of the journal Nature Biotechnology.

“We showed that it’s possible to change the hair color in a live animal, and not just in the color-producing cells cultured in a test tube,” says Dr. Alexeev, noting that only a few tiny hairs were blackened and were not visible without a microscope. Last year, Dr. Yoon and Dr. Alexeev reported that, using this gene repair technique, they could change mouse melanocytes from white to black in the test tube.

The scientists would like to continue to refine their technique. “We have a lot to improve on, such as oligonucleotide delivery to the melanocytes,” says Dr. Yoon, who is also a member of the Jefferson Institute of Molecular Medicine. “We’re still trying to find the optimum conditions for delivery of the oligonucleotides into mouse skin. The skin is a good organ to do this. It’s accessible and easy to monitor for changes.”

The researchers also hope to improve the delivery system because mouse and human skin differ.

In the gene repair technique, the gene alteration, known as a “point mutation,” was in the gene for a key enzyme, tyrosinase, which is involved in making melanin and in pigmentation. By correcting the alteration, tyrosinase activity was restored and melanin was again produced.

Dr. Yoon used the technique on melanin-producing cells as a model system to test a hypothesis. “We wanted to see what we could visualize and follow using this system,” she says.

Dr. Yoon and former Jefferson researcher Eric Kmiec, Ph.D., developed the gene-fixing technique several years ago. Scientists can synthesize a small oligonucleotide that has the capability to find and attach itself to a certain part of a gene. The small genetic vehicle is designed to trigger the cell’s normal DNA repair system into action as well. The repair mechanism scans the DNA looking for any mismatches or two strands of DNA that don’t seem in sync. When it finds a mismatch, it replaces one of the chemical bases with one that fits better. The scientists, then, can use this natural repair system to correct a bad mutation.

The gene-repair technique is far from perfected, Dr. Yoon says. “Much more research is needed to improve the design and make this technology generally applicable.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Jefferson Medical College. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Jefferson Medical College. "Jefferson Scientists Use Gene Repair Technique To Change Albino Mice Hairs To Black." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 December 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/12/991229122501.htm>.
Jefferson Medical College. (1999, December 29). Jefferson Scientists Use Gene Repair Technique To Change Albino Mice Hairs To Black. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/12/991229122501.htm
Jefferson Medical College. "Jefferson Scientists Use Gene Repair Technique To Change Albino Mice Hairs To Black." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/12/991229122501.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said the risk of Ebola becoming an epidemic in the U.S. is essentially zero Thursday at the Washington Ideas Forum. He also said an Ebola vaccine will be tested in West Africa in the next few months. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) A nurse who vowed to defy Maine's voluntary quarantine for health care workers who treated Ebola patients followed through on her promise Thursday, leaving her home for an hour-long bike ride. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) Colorado may have legalized marijuana for recreational use, but the debate around the decision still continues, with a recent - failed - attempt to ban cannabis-infused edibles. Duration: 01:53 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
British Navy Ship Arrives in Sierra Leone With Ebola Aid

British Navy Ship Arrives in Sierra Leone With Ebola Aid

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) The British ship RFA ARGUS arrived in Sierra Leone to deliver supplies and equipment to help the fight against Ebola. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins