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Current Affairs

Albino lizards to study human vision problems

Date: 28 August 2019 Tags: Biotechnology

Issue

 

A team of scientists at the University of Georgia have overcome challenges to successfully make albino anole lizards, and say that it could help us better understand vision problems in humans with albinism.

 

Background

 

Humans with albinism often have problems with their vision, and researchers can use the  lizards as a model to study how the gene impacts the development of the retina.

 

Details

  • Reptiles like snakes, lizards, and crocodiles were considered off the gene-editing table because of the creatures' unusual reproductive systems. 
  • The scientists injected the females' unfertilized eggs with Crispr tech while they were still in the ovaries and then allowing mating and breeding to happen naturally.
  • The genetic editing allowed lizards to be be born as albinos, which could be studied for gene’s role in vision related issues.

CRISPR-Cas9


CRISPR gene editing is a method by which the genomes of living organisms may be edited. CRISPR-Cas genome editing techniques have many potential applications, including medicine and crop seed enhancement.

 

Albinism

 

Albinism is a congenital disorder characterized in humans by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes. Albinism is associated with a number of vision defects, such as photophobia, nystagmus, and amblyopia. Lack of skin pigmentation makes for more susceptibility to sunburn and skin cancers.