Meet The Albino Anole, The World’s First Genetically Modified Reptile

Scientists have created the world’s first genetically modified reptiles – four adorably tiny albino lizards. The achievement is a gene-editing breakthrough that could have applications for both reptile biology and human medicine.

To produce the little albino lizards, the team employed the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool, which has been used for all sorts of things from treating a rare blood disorder to making corals more resilient to climate change.

Until now, modifying reptiles using CRISPR has posed a bit of a challenge. Normally, when scientists use the technique to genetically modify an animal, they inject gene-editing solutions into a single-celled embryo or an egg that’s just been fertilized. This causes a mutation in the DNA, which is then present in all new cells produced as the embryo develops.


Recommended For You

MOTO Theme - powerful & versatile WordPress theme.

Effortless, unlimited website creation in MINUTES

VideoWhizz Enterprise

A Revolutionary Video Personalization, Customization, Notification, and Monetization Technology that Drives Maximum Engagement, Conversions, Opt-Ins, and Sales.


However, reptilian embryos make things a bit more complicated. Female reptiles have the ability to store sperm in their oviducts (the tube an egg passes through when it leaves the ovary) for long periods of time. This makes it tricky for scientists to know when an egg has been fertilized. What’s more, the fertilized eggs of reptiles have no air space inside, making it difficult to insert anything without damaging them.

“Reptiles are very understudied in terms of their reproductive biology and embryonic development,” University of Georgia (UGA) geneticist Douglas Menke said in a statement. “There are no good methods to manipulate embryos like we can easily do with mammals, fish or amphibians. To our knowledge, no other lab in the world has produced a genetically altered reptile.”

The lizards used in the study were brown anoles (Anolis sagrei), which, according to Menke, are the reptilian equivalent of the Galapagos finches made famous by Darwin. The anoles are found across the Caribbean islands, with unique adaptations evolving dependant on their habitats, such as running vs climbing legs.

Cleverly, the team managed to insert CRISPR proteins into immature unfertilized eggs within female lizards’ ovaries. This modified the genes received from the mother and, to the researchers’ surprise, the father too. It seems the CRISPR solution remained active longer than expected, changing the genetic makeup of both the egg and then the sperm when fertilization took place.

Specifically, the researchers modified the tyrosinase gene. When this gene is inactive, albinism occurs. They managed to inject 146 immature eggs from 21 lizards before natural fertilization took place. When the baby lizards hatched, the team discovered their experiment had worked. Among the characteristically brown critters were four distinctive pale pink ones.

“When I saw our first albino hatchling, it was truly awe-inspiring,” said first author Ashley Rasys. “I’m most excited about the possibility of expanding this approach into many other reptilian model systems, effectively opening the doorway for future functional studies.”

Ashley with one of her teeny albino anoles. University of Georgia

The albino lizards could inform scientists working on human eye health. The tyrosinase gene is involved in eye development, both humans and anoles have it, but creatures like mice that we use as model organisms do not. The findings are currently awaiting peer review, but you can view them on the pre-print server bioRxiv

“This work could have far-reaching impact not only for the study of reptile genetics but also for the advancement of genomic medicine and application in humans,” David Lee, UGA vice president for research, explained.

Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific


Recommended For You

OneSoci Templates

OneSoci Templates + Add 5 More Account Managers...

Botstar Commercial

All Inclusive A.I. Chatbot Platform For Website and Facebook Messenger... Drag-n-Drop Technology, 50 Stunning Done For You Templates, Unlimited Lists, Unlimited Chatblasts and Commercial Rights License Included (Save $1200 In Annual Fees!)


This post was curated & Posted using : RealSpecific

Thank you for taking the time to read our article.

If you enjoyed our content, we'd really appreciate some "love" with a share or two.

And ... Don't forget to have fun!


Klippyo Box

Access an additional 10 professionally produced Klippyo templates! On top of that, you'll get 100 stock footage clips that you can use to kickstart your creativity.

Snapishop Commercial

All Inclusive eCom Store Builder, With Commercial License Included

Content Gorilla

SEO optimized content on your fingertips

Leave a Reply