Scientists Used CRISPR to Make Mirror-Image Snails
|futurism.com 15 May 2019 at 14:20|
About 10 percent of people are left-handed, but among great pond snails, lefties are even rarerÂ â€” only two percent are born with shells that are left-coiling, spiraling counter-clockwise from their smallest point.
In 2016, a Japanese scientist posited that a single gene controlled whether a snail would be right- or left-handed.Â Now,Â she and her team haveÂ seemingly proved that the theory is correct byÂ using CRISPR Â to create lefty snailsÂ â€” a discovery that could one day help unravel the mysteries of human biology.
In a study published Tuesday in the journal Development, Chubu University researcher Reiko Kuroda and colleagues detail their use of the CRISPR gene-editing tool to knock out the Lsdia1 gene in snails to see if it would cause the creatures to hatchÂ with the rare left-coiling shells.
The results supported Kurodaâ€™s theory. The snail eggs the team injected with CRISPR instructed to removeÂ Lsdia1 developed into the uncommonÂ left-handed snails. Furthermore, the CRISPR snails produced generation after generation of snails that were mirror images of the common right-handed snails.
Now that the researchers have confirmed thatÂ the Lsdia1 gene plays an integral role in a snailâ€™s right- or left-handedness, they suggest in a press release that it would be worthwhile to explore how similar genes in humans affect our ownÂ asymmetry.
Eventually, such studies could help us better understand why some humans are born with rare conditions, such as having their hearts on the instead of the left.