Artificial mutation transferred to the progeny

A few months back researchers successfully developed a genetically altered organism capable of transferring its altered gene to its progeny. It is a major breakthrough in the field of genetics and a major milestone for the researchers working towards the development of designer organisms.

Under normal circumstances there is only 50 percent chance of a particular gene being passed to progeny from its parent as each parent contribute only half of the genome. But in a recent development the biologists from the University of California, San Diego, found a novel technique to ensure that an offspring of fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) received a particular gene from a parent for up to 95 percent of time. Their research has been published in Science.

The researchers used CRISPR technique of genetic engineering to make sure that the mutation introduced in one chromosome of the genome of the fruit fly automatically transfers to the homologous chromosome as stated by Valentino Gantz, a co-author of the study. Since the mutation is introduced in both the chromosomes of the genome, it is always transferred to the progeny no matter which set is being transferred. The researchers have named this process as “Mutagenic Chain Reaction” (MCR).

This technique of MCR has capability of transforming a population of sexually reproducing organisms in a very short span of time. This technique has a potential of developing the pests or mosquitoes that are not capable of spreading the diseases.

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