Despite the fact that gene modification is becoming more and more popular and widespread among researchers in evolutionary biology, still the world knows very few experiments with the introduction of this type of technique. However, today a talented team of specialists from the University of Georgia in the USA presented the results of their own experiment of this nature, aimed at brown anoles – small lizards of a fairly wide distribution area. In particular, specialists were able to apply the CRISPR-Cas9 gene modification technique in order to change the gene inherent in still young, unfertilized eggs inside female anoles.
The fact is that previous experiments on the effects on already fertilized eggs did not always bring the expected result, because there are two main difficulties – firstly, since female anoles may not immediately fertilize them, it becomes difficult to distinguish one from the other eggs, but secondly, in direct fertilization, it is quite easy to damage the microenvironment of the embryo, as well as the embryo itself. That is why the experts injected a genetically modified solution into the uterus of anols, thus affecting 21 dinosaurs and more than 146 eggs.
They aimed at changing a gene compound called tyrosinases, which determines the pigment component of the skin – and achieved very unique results, receiving four newborn lizards of light pink skin color. The fact that not all of them underwent a mutation suggests that something from a third-party genome was probably lost here, but this remains to be determined experimentally in the near future.
However, even in spite of the fact that the experiment itself was fully successful, they actually managed to create four genetically modified pangolins using a relatively widespread, developed and proven gene modification technique called CRISPR-Cas9. In addition, specialists are interested in further improving the current iteration of their gene modification technique.