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Check Out These GLOWING Fish!

Glowing Fish

Image credit: Ruby Jylin via YouTube.

Many organisms, such as cats, dogs mice, monkeys, pigs as well as plants, have been engineered to glow in a genetic way. When a new glowing organism is found, many people are not fully aware of the reason why they behave in this sense. As the natural “cool” factor does exist with a glowing organism, the technique is not yet completely utilized in the real life.

It is known that biologists have been trying to apply genetic engineering to the several fields. If they are intended to suppress or amplify the expression of a gene, they would be able to get insight of its function.

Being pleiotropic, some genes could influence a quite number of phenotypes, even if they appear unrelated. Therefore, it is of incredible importance to know where a gene is being expressed, although it is relatively difficult. As a result, reporter genes for green fluorescent protein (GFP), which enables some kinds of jellyfish to have natural bioluminescence, could be inserted into the genome, thus producing a visible signal at the time the desired gene is expressed. By doing so, scientists could be able to obtain visual confirmation that the genetic engineering was satisfactorily accomplished in the location where they expect.

The gene that encodes GFP is replicated through polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which in fact acts as a Xerox machine for DNA. The environmental situations could induce the DNA into replicating until an adequate supply is ensured. In the following step, The DNA is changed to over express the GFP, which could in turn allow it to be seen easily in the animal model.

Incorporated with promoter and enhancer sequences, The GFP gene will ensure the finished product to be inserted into the desired location and then the engineered DNA is inserted into a newly-fertilized egg. In this way, scientists would enable to screen the organisms in the next stage for selection of those   successfully taken in and expressed the new gene. The success cases will be mated so as to produce a reliable strain of homozygous organisms for the study of the transgene in the future.

In the case of the Convict chichlid (Amatitlania nigrofasciata), the end result looks something like this:

Source: IFLScience