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Oct 29, 2020

A groundbreaking genetic screening tool for human organoids

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, neuroscience

Many of the fundamental principles in biology and essentially all pathways regulating development were identified in so-called genetics screens. Originally pioneered in the fruit fly Drosophila and the nematode C. elegans, genetic screens involve inactivation of many genes one by one. By analyzing the consequences of gene loss, scientists can draw conclusions about its function. This way, for example, all genes required for formation of a brain can be identified.

Genetic screens can routinely be carried out in flies and worms. In humans, a wealth of knowledge exists about genetic disorders and the consequences of disease-relevant mutations, but their systematic analysis was impossible. Now, the Knoblich lab at IMBA has developed a groundbreaking technique allowing hundreds of to be analyzed in parallel in . They named the new technology CRISPR-LICHT and published their findings in the journal Science.

By using cerebral organoids, a 3D cell culture model for the human developed in Jürgen Knoblich’s group at IMBA, hundreds of mutations can now be analyzed for their role in the using CRISPR-LICHT.

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