Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

In 2017 we celebrated five years of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science

Wellcome Image Awards 2017 Fishy Editing
20 March 2017

Fishy Editing

This isn’t a horror from the deep, but a developing zebrafish. Its eyes glow red after a trick of genetic engineering. A revolutionary technique called CRISPR/Cas9 allows scientists to edit the fish’s genome – adding or removing genes – providing a useful testing ground for gene editing in other species, including human cells. Here CRISPR inserts an artificial red fluorescent gene that switches on with a natural gene in the lens of the fish’s eye. The new gene produces a red protein in the iris, and also in the fish’s sensory neuromasts – cells dotted around the developing ears that detect vibration in the water, useful when there are predators around. Combined here with a turquoise stain to highlight the developing nervous system, gene-edited zebrafish also have huge potential in exploring genetic disorders and diseases involving similar human genes.

Written by John Ankers

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