Floxing A Gene
From Floxing a Gene to Curing a Disease – The In Vivo Study of Gene Function
Most genetic researchers consider that floxing a gene to generate a knockout model of a certain gene, particularly when using mice with mutations for the task, to be an extremely important procedure when it comes to studying the function of specific genes and developing treatments based on those studies. An entire science has developed around the use of floxed and knockout mice. Today, processes like Cre-lox recombination are being used more efficiently than ever to generate knockout models, study the effects that gene deactivation has on the mammalian body, and corroborate the research data with the data gathered from human studies in order to create viable treatments for genetic disorders.
Mouse Mutants and Gene Function
A pertinent question has to do with the need for mice when floxing a gene. Why is it that researchers prefer mice to other mammals? The fact is that laboratory mice are often inbred so that genetic differences are minimal, which allows for more precise results. Also, their size, their genetic similarity to humans, their biology and physiology, as well as their behavior makes mice the ideal subjects for various genetic studies, especially those involving the study of gene function in vivo.
Generating Knockout Genes in Mice
Knockout genes are generated through a process that first involves floxing a gene – which is the process of attaching the two different sides of the genetic material to targeted loxP sites, which will then be used as targets for the Cre enzyme in the Cre-lox recombination process. During this procedure, the Cre enzyme facilitates the deletion of the gene (or its inversion, depending on the orientation of the loxP sites), which allows for knockout mouse models of the gene in question to be grown from infancy and for their development to be studied in vivo.
Studying Gene Function in Vivo
The in vivo study of gene function is extremely essential for the gathering of relevant data about gene inactivation. When a gene is inactivated, it can have extreme and unpredictable effects on the body, which means that the only way to get accurate and relevant results is through in vivo study. Compared to in vitro studies, which are done outside the organism and can only provide some relevant data, in vivo studies focus on the development and growth of the mouse itself, providing data that can then be applied to a certain extent to the human genome. This possibility exists primarily because the mouse genome is quite similar to the human one, despite the fact that it features a lower quantity and complexity of genetic material.
The Future of Floxing and Genetic Manipulation
Floxing a gene might be a lot easier in the future than it is today. Researchers are constantly trying to find newer ways to obtain floxed and knockout mice more efficiently, with fewer mistakes and at a faster rate. While the in vivo study of genetic function might be restricted when it comes to speed, there is still much work to be done when it comes to perfecting methods like the Cre-lox recombination system to ensure greater success in generating knockout genes. Floxing a gene might seem like a simple process once one becomes acquainted with the tools. However, researchers agree that these tools still need to be improved in order to obtain more accurate results with the use of fewer ES cells and experimental subjects.