The dawn of active genetics

Published on April 30, 2018   54 min

Other Talks in the Series: Gene-Drives and Active Genetics

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Hello. My name is Ethan Bier, and today I'll be giving you a sense of some of the interesting applications of active genetics in this talk that's entitled, The Dawn of Active Genetics. These two images you see by the way, in front of you are the work of Valentino Gantz, who in addition to being a fine scientist, as you all hear, is also a very gifted artist.
So here is the gentleman himself, Valentino Gantz. Again, the picture that he drew here of a fly, where the wing that is out is indicating a genetic process that repeats from one generation to the next and the wing that is closed, one that is part of the body, where it's not happening. It's a situation that works. often, but not 100 percent of the time and he's likened that to a little bit to a PCR machine which is embedded in the thorax of that insect to give that kind of pictorial image of the process.
So, what Valentino had in mind was a way of using what's known as the CRISPR/Cas9 technology, and this is a technology that I imagine, all of you are aware of. It's a powerful revolutionary DNA editing technology that allows for the directed cleavage of the DNA in the genome anywhere you want. The way it works is that there's a guide RNA, indicated gRNA on this slide, that at the end of it has 20 nucleotides that can be programmed to be any sequence you want. To a first approximation then you can cut the genome in almost any location you want, and what that does is, that guide RNA combines with a protein that actually does the cutting called Cas9. So, the Cas9 and the guide RNA together are this two component system that allow you to cut as molecular scissors the genome in any location that you may want. So, what Valentino came up with is a new way of using this molecular scissors.