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Gene Editing

Chemistry In Pictures

Chemistry in Pictures: Glow monkey

by Craig Bettenhausen
July 22, 2022


A monkey headshot, except it's skin an some fur are glowing in a blacklight.
Credit: Sci. Adv. 2022, DOI:10.1126/sciadv.abo3123

Okay look, mammals that have been genetically engineered to express fluorescent proteins have been around for a while. In fact, this writer’s first-ever article for C&EN in 2011 featured fluorescent kittens. It’s still cool. Scientists generally make glowing animals because it’s easy to tell if gene transfer was successful—just scan over the embryos with an ultraviolet light and look for the ones that glow. Sometimes, the scientists are inserting a gene of interest and are using the fluorescence as a tag, as was the case with the cats. Other times, as is the true for this fluorescent rhesus monkey, the researchers are advancing the gene-editing toolkit. Specifically, Yu Kang and coworkers at China’s Kunming University of Science and Technology were using a technique called “off-target analysis by somatic cell nuclear transfer” to evaluate the accuracy of gene-editing tools called adenine base editors. Though it has a science-fiction flair, the goal is noble: adenine base editors are being explored as a way to correct mutations that lead to gene-linked diseases, so it’s important to characterize their strengths and limitations.

A sleeping baby monkey.
Credit: Sci. Adv. 2022, DOI:10.1126/sciadv.abo3123
Bonus sleeping baby monkey pic.

Credit: Yuyu Niu; Sci. Adv. 2022, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abo3123

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