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Life Science Zurich Communication & Events

Genetically modifying individual cells in animals

Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a method that lets them genetically modify each cell differently in animals. This allows them to study in a single experiment what used to require many animal experiments. Using the new method, the researchers have discovered genes that are relevant for a severe rare genetic disorder.

With the new method, the cells in individual organs of animals can be genetically modified in a mosaic-​like manner (symbol image created with Midjourney). (Visualisations: ETH Zurich)

In brief

  • Researchers combined the modification of many genes in living adult animals using the CRISPR-​Cas gen scissors with the subsequent analysis of single cells.
  • This lets them switch off different genes in the individual cells of an organ, thus creating a mosaic of genetically different cells, and study the effects.
  • The method simplifies and accelerates animal research and is particularly suitable for studying diseases with complex genetic causes.

ETH News