Encyclopedia > Gene knockout

  Article Content

Gene knockout

Gene knockout is the process of preventing a gene from functioning in a organism in order to learn more about the function(s) of normal, unaltered gene.

Knockout genes are produced as follows:

The nucleotide base sequence of a specific gene is altered, often by inserting a specially designed DNA chain into the gene. The altered gene will now no more be able to perform its original function, which is often to code for one or more proteins through RNA transcription and translation.

To this end an artificial DNA probe[?] (small base sequence) is inserted into the cell. This probe is designed such that it will bind only to parts of the targeted gene. Through recombination parts of the probe will become part of the original gene, thus rendering it ineffective.

Moreover the inserted sequence, called a 'cassette', may contain a new functional gene itself which introduces an new trait that allows easy selection of individuals where the knockout was performed successfully. For instance, in bacteria a new gene might be introduced that introduces resistance to some antibiotic. All bacteria without the new insert are then easily removed by adding that antibiotic.

In plants and animals, which have chromosomes that contain two or more similar DNA sequences, further selective breeding is used to make the alteration replace all copies of the targeted gene. Only then will all gene activity stop, and can all resulting changes be studied.

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
  Featured Article
Ocean Beach, New York

... is spread out with 21.7% under the age of 18, 5.1% from 18 to 24, 32.6% from 25 to 44, 31.2% from 45 to 64, and 9.4% who are 65 years of age or older. The median ...

This page was created in 23 ms