Specific Uses of Alleles in Genetic Research – What Is a Conditional Allele?
What is a conditional allele and why is it so important? The use of conditional alleles can be quite invaluable, opening the door to numerous applications in the study of diseases and the hereditary traits of the mammalian body. This fact applies whether we are exploring reverse genetics through point mutations or advanced, conditional gene knockout methods. Conditional alleles can be triggered to activate or deactivate in certain conditions, ensuring more accurate control over genetic modifications.
Alleles and Conditional Alleles
Before going deeper into just what is a conditional allele and what it is used for, it’s important to have a basic understanding of alleles themselves. In simple terms, an allele is a variant form of a gene. As genes are located at a specific locus, in two copies on the chromosome, these copies can be identical or different, depending on the subject’s parents and their specific genetic traits. Genes that have differing copies are known as alleles. Since alleles can produce varying types of dominant or recessive phenotypes, either through recombinase or other processes, they can help geneticists better understand forward and reverse genetics more easily if they are altered to become conditional. Conditional alleles are, therefore, designed to have specific traits that allow researchers to control exactly when and where specific traits triggered by the allele will be expressed.
The Generation of a Conditional Allele in Mice
Mice and laboratory rats are most commonly used as test subjects for developing specific, conditional alleles for the purpose of studying gene expression. What is a conditional allele all about when it comes to its development in mouse models designed to study specific aspects of genetic function, and how are the mice produced? In most cases, techniques involving the Cre/LoxP recombination system or similar systems can be used for generating conditional alleles. The recombination will result in a deletion or inversion at the lox sites, and can typically target various genes with the purpose of creating a conditional allele.
Conditional Allele and Reverse Genetics
What is a conditional allele, and how can it be used as an important tool in reverse genetics? Recent studies show that reverse genetics is more and more popular and efficient when it comes to getting to the bottom of important phenotypic effects using genetic engineering. The generation of conditional alleles can prove useful in this regard, since they can be used to trigger a normal response in a gene up until a specific trigger activates the conditional alleles. The alleles can be created using recombinase at lox and frt sites to trigger a deletion when a special recombinase like CRE is induced.
CRISPR/Cas9 and a Simple Process for Generating Conditional Alleles
Knockout mice and rats have recently been produced using the Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats method (also known as CRISPR) to produce double strand breaks for studying embryogenesis. Because of the limitations of many of the simple knockout strategies involved, researchers have turned to conditional alleles using the same CRISPR/Cas9 method with remarkable results. When it comes to exploring just what is a conditional allele and what role it plays in the study of genetic functions, CRISPR/Cas9 has proven to be invaluable in offering a basic and flexible strategy for producing knockout mice and rats with that purpose in mind.