New methods to produce and assess genetic mosaics have been developed by researchers at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III (CNIC). These mosaics include tissues that contain a number of cell groups with different known genotypes, allowing the study of the differences generated by these genotypes in cell behavior.
These new methods will permit a scientist to promote multispectral genetic mosaics in various vertebrate models, such as zebrafish and mice. The technology will assist in the advance study of the interaction and function of genes, at high spatio-temporal resolution, during their development. The genes encode the data required for the synthesizing of proteins, the operational building blocks of human body cells.
The improvements in the methods for the assessment of gene function will permit researchers to enhance knowledge regarding how the genome functions in the multiple types of cells that make up human bodies. It will also allow them to study gene interaction networks and their governing hierarchies. Moreover, this knowledge is crucial for the design of effective therapeutic strategies in order to modify or rectify the genetic activity in the disease.
The ability to modify the genetic activity has drastically changed the approaches to the study of biological procedures. Nowadays, many of the researchers evaluate the function of a single gene at a time by altering its activity – either increasing it or removing it – in all cells or a subset of them in an organ in humans or animals. In this approach, the understanding on gene function is gained through the assessment of the changes that a single genetic modification generates.