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Knockout Mice Essay

2549 words - 11 pages

Knockout Mice Technology

| Submitted By : Wasman ID : 11136007Course ID : BTE 402 |

Knockout Mice Technology

| Submitted By : Wasman ID : 11136007Course ID : BTE 402 |

Modern medicine is the product of centuries of experiences in dealing with various diseases and disorders related to the human physiology. From the discovery of vaccination to the discovery of antibiotics, each medical breakthrough highlighted the success of humans in dealing with the prevailing medical issues of that time. With the discovery of the structure of DNA by Crick and Watson in the early 1950s, the focus on medical research has shifted to the understanding of the genetic cause of a ...view middle of the document...

Over the past century, the mouse has developed into the premier mammalian model system for genetic research. Scientists from a wide range of biomedical fields have gravitated to the mouse because of its close genetic (approximately 95%) and physiological similarities to humans, as well as the ease with which its genome can be manipulated and analyzed. Mice, therefore, are a far better tool for probing the immune, endocrine, nervous, cardiovascular, skeletal and other complex physiological systems that mammals share and the impact of these systems in the event of a disease. Adding to the mouse's appeal as a model for biomedical research is the animal's relatively low cost of maintenance and its ability to quickly multiply, reproducing as often as every nine weeks. The resulting genomic manipulation of mice have yielded many different strains of mice with different properties and characteristics. One of these is the knockout mouse.
What are knockout mice?
A knockout mouse is a genetically engineered mouse in which researchers have inactivated, or "knocked out," an existing gene by replacing it or disrupting it with an artificial piece of DNA. The loss of gene activity often causes changes in a mouse's phenotype, which includes appearance, behavior and other observable physical and biochemical characteristics. The resulting phenotypic change in the mouse can be used as an indicator for the gene’s normal role in mouse and, by extrapolation, humans. Developed in 1989 by Mario R. Capecchi, Martin Evans and Oliver Smithies, the trio were awarded a Nobel Prize for Physiology in 2007 for their groundbreaking work which enabled scientist to study a range of genetic disorders (such as Parkinson’s disease, cancer and diabetes) as well as lifestyle problems (such as obesity and substance abuse).
Since a single knockout mouse can be used as a model for one particular disease, several thousand different mice strains have been developed since they were first introduced. At the forefront of this technology is The Jackson Laboratory, a publicly supported national repository for mouse models in Bar Harbor, Maine. It has played a crucial role in the development of the mouse into the leading model for biomedical research and is currently the leading distributor of knockout mice strains with almost 2700 different strains in their database alone. A majority of these are knockout mice strains, which are named according to the gene that has been knocked out. Some of these include:
* The Cftr knockout mouse: This particular strain has helped advance research into cystic fibrosis, the most common fatal genetic disease in the United States today, occurring in approximately one of every 3,300 live births. In this particular strain, the Cftr gene has been disabled which thereby eliminates the formation of the CFTR carrier protein in cell membranes; the protein regulates the passage of salts and water in and out of cells. Studies with the Cftr knockout have shown that...

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