Targeting Genes for Self-Excision in the Germline
Genetic modification is often accomplished through attaching the desired modification sequence to sequences necessary to retain the new genetic material in the organism. These procedures invariably leave genetic material that is no longer needed once selection methods have identified correctly modified organisms. Groups opposing the use and consumption of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO�s) frequently argue that genes conferring resistance to certain antibiotics and herbicides are in danger of being transferred to other species if the GMO is used in an uncontrolled environment. Additionally, genetic research is complicated by the retention of these leftover construction sequences. The invention directs self-excision of any sequences that are not desired in the final GMO by directing expression of a Cre recombinase gene by a germline-specific promoter, after any selection or other function has been performed that requires the eventually undesired sequences.
This technology will improve genetic manipulation of experimental organisms, greatly increasing the market of functional genomics with applications both in the medical and agricultural fields. Worldwide the functional genomics market is expected to reach $2 billion in 2007, with experts predicting an annual compound growth rate of 28 percent for the next six years in commercial sectors.
Stage of Development
A patent application has been filed with a publication number WO0100809 A1.
This technology is part of an active and ongoing research program and has been demonstrated to work in proof-of-concept experiments which include a working prototype that has been validated in animal experiments. It is available for licensing under either exclusive or non-exclusive terms.
*Bunting M, Bernstein KE, Greer JM, Capecchi MR, Thomas K (1999) Targeting genes for self-excision in the germ line. Genes Dev 13(12):1524-8
Kenneth Bernstein, Michaeline Bunting, Joy Greer, Kirk Thomas, Mario Capecchi
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