Japanese scientists at the RIKEN Center have edited the DNA of a marsupial possum for the first time to protect them from extinction.
Scientists at Japan’s Riken Biosystem Dynamics Research Center have used new genome-editing technologies to begin research on possums.
The fact is that over the past few decades, the number and species diversity of marsupials has been decreasing, in particular, due to diseases of marsupials.
In order to help animals adapt and protect them from extinction, the authors of the new work adapted the CRISPR / Cas9 genomic editor to work with marsupial DNA and figured out how to change the genome of their embryos.
As a result, biologists selected a set of hormones and developed a method of artificial fertilization of eggs, thanks to which it is possible to obtain a large number of embryos, modify their genome and then return them to the body of pregnant females.
During their first experiment, the authors modified the TYR gene, which is responsible for skin and eye color in humans and animals. This procedure completed successfully.
The authors continue to work in order to study the work of genes that are supposedly associated with some of the unique traits of marsupials.