Notorious to all readers of our siteThe CRISPR / Cas9 genome editor, which has recently allowed scientists to make more discoveries, has once again hit the world community with what it is capable of. If earlier CRISPR / Cas9 allowed changing the structure of cells or helping to treat a number of diseases, now scientists were able to endow the living organism with practically super abilities. Namely, immunity to the strongest poison.
How does the genome editor deal with the effects of the poison?
According to the editors of Nature magazine, withCRISPR / Cas9 scientists reproduced mutations in the Drosophila fly genome that give immunity to ouabain poison. Ouabain is a toxin found in the leaves and stems of the Asclepias curassavica plant (also known as the quiver), which is poisonous to most insects and even to humans. The plant cells of the ovary contain a number of substances, which, if not go into physiological details, lead to overexcitation of cardiomyocytes, ventricular fibrillation, and, as a result, death from cardiac arrest.
However, a number of insects (e.g. some speciesbutterflies) have learned to protect their lives due to the fact that they live on the branches and leaves of such plants. As you understand, such insects have immunity to the strongest poison and scientists decided to try to “transfer” this property from one insect to another. And how do you feel about such a frequent use of the genome editor? Tell us about it in our chat in Telegram.
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Joint group of scientists from France, Germany andThe United States tried to “reproduce the course of evolution” using the CRISPR / Cas9 genome editor. The basis was taken by monarch butterflies, which just have immunity to the strong poison of the quiver. It is known that during the development, representatives of this species of butterflies at a certain stage received immunity to poison. The genes responsible for these processes have been carefully studied, and then the time has come for the experiment. As an object of study, scientists chose Drosophila and, using the genome editor, created genetically edited flies with different variants of mutations responsible for the presence of immunity to the poison. The amount of mutation ranged from one to 5-6 depending on which enzymes were required or not required to be produced. All obtained fly species were tested for survival in an environment with a high concentration of ouabain poison.
As a result, scientists found that three separateThere are enough mutations in the enzyme system to make the species resistant to the poison. Scientists note that their experiment will help in the development of new methods to combat poisons and toxins, as well as in the creation of drugs that can act at the gene level. However, the uniqueness of the work is not only this. What the team of experts from three countries did was a largely unique experiment, which helped not only to “add” a new property to the living organism, but also made it possible to reproduce the multi-stage adaptation process following the example of how it happened in the evolution process.