Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fast track to mouse modeling

Date:
April 2, 2013
Source:
Technische Universitaet Muenchen
Summary:
What genes are responsible for the development of breast cancer? What are the brain cell mutations that lead to the onset of Alzheimer's? To find new therapies, scientists have to understand how diseases are triggered at cell level. Experiments on genetically modified mice are an indispensable part of basic medical research. Now a method has been found to help laboratories carry out their work with fewer test animals.

What genes are responsible for the development of breast cancer? What are the brain cell mutations that lead to the onset of Alzheimer's? To find new therapies, scientists have to understand how diseases are triggered at cell level. Experiments on genetically modified mice are an indispensable part of basic medical research. Now a method has been found to help laboratories carry out their work with fewer test animals.

Related Articles


Scientists use genetically modified laboratory mice to investigate the underlying mechanisms of diseases. These "knockout" mice carry genes or gene regions that are thought to trigger diseases.

For laboratories, the knockout technique requires a lot of time and effort. "Scientists start by engineering a genetic defect into embryonic stem cells," explains Prof. Wolfgang Wurst, who carries out research at Technische Universität München (TUM) and Helmholtz Zentrum München. "Then they implant the manipulated stem cells into a mouse embryo."

Genetic defects made to order

After multiple steps, organisms are created which have both modified and unmodified cells. The mice have to be crossed several times until offspring are produced which carry the knockout characteristic in all of their body cells. Including all tests, it takes scientists between one and two years to produce a functioning mouse model.

But now the team led by Prof. Wurst and Dr. Ralf Kühn have developed a new method, allowing them to complete the process in a much shorter time -- just a little over four months. They modified the genes directly in the fertilized mouse egg cells so that all the cells in the bodies of the offspring would have the same genetic defect. "By eliminating the time-consuming crossing stage, laboratories will be able to produce mouse models much quicker and with much fewer test animals," remarks Wurst.

High-precision cutting of DNA strands

The team used TALEN enzymes(*) for its research experiments. These DNA tools have a dual function: One part recognizes and binds to a particular gene, while another cuts the DNA strand in situ. These ultra-precise DNA "scalpels" were developed just a few years ago.

"TALEN enzymes have a simple, modular structure," says Wurst. "This means that we can create a number of variants to cut through all genes in the genome and modify them for a specific purpose." The technique will allow scientists to knock out particular genes, introduce genetic defects within cells and repair genetic defects.

"We have used the TALEN process to implant mutations associated with human dementia in mouse germ cells. These animal models will help us understand the molecular mechanisms behind dementia. The advantage of the technique is that we will in principle be able to model all hereditary diseases in the test mice," adds Wurst.

(*)TALEN: Transcription activator-like effector nuclease


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Technische Universitaet Muenchen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. B. Wefers, M. Meyer, O. Ortiz, M. Hrabe de Angelis, J. Hansen, W. Wurst, R. Kuhn. Direct production of mouse disease models by embryo microinjection of TALENs and oligodeoxynucleotides. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2013; 110 (10): 3782 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1218721110

Cite This Page:

Technische Universitaet Muenchen. "Fast track to mouse modeling." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130402124811.htm>.
Technische Universitaet Muenchen. (2013, April 2). Fast track to mouse modeling. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130402124811.htm
Technische Universitaet Muenchen. "Fast track to mouse modeling." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130402124811.htm (accessed January 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, January 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Brawling Pandas Are Violently Adorable

Brawling Pandas Are Violently Adorable

Buzz60 (Jan. 29, 2015) — Video of pandas play fighting at the Chengdu Research Base in China will make your day. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) shows us. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Researchers Say We Should Cut Back On Biofuels

Why Researchers Say We Should Cut Back On Biofuels

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) — Biofuels aren&apos;t the best alternative to fossil fuels, according to a new report. In fact, they&apos;re quite a bad one. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3-D Printed Wheelchair Helps Two-Legged Dog Learn to Run

3-D Printed Wheelchair Helps Two-Legged Dog Learn to Run

Buzz60 (Jan. 29, 2015) — 3-D printing helps another two-legged dog run around with his four-legged friends. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the adorable video. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dogs Bring on So Many Different Emotions in Their Human Best Friends

Dogs Bring on So Many Different Emotions in Their Human Best Friends

RightThisMinute (Jan. 28, 2015) — From new-puppy happy tears to helpful-grocery-carrying-dog laughter, our four-legged best friends can make us feel the entire spectrum of emotions. Video provided by RightThisMinute
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

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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