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10 August 2015

Visualise a Knockout

Gene knockout (KO) is a research technique whereby a gene in an organism is turned off or 'knocked out'. Scientists compare 'knockout' with normal individuals to learn about what that gene does. This video is from the Deciphering the Mechanisms of Developmental Disorders (DMDD) programme, and was made using a relatively new technique, called high-resolution episcopic microscopy, which can take high resolution images of a KO mouse embryo. Each image shows details of the tissue structures within an embryo at cross-sections about the width of a human hair. About one-third of all KOs in mice lead to stillbirths, and the goal of DMDD is to create a database of the genetic regulation of embryo development. Over 95 per cent of the mouse genome is similar to our own, so DMDD could be useful for clinicians to diagnose human birth defects and develop new therapies.

Written by Kevin Pollock

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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