Interviewee: Mario Capecchi.
Mario Capecchi discusses the similarities between mouse and human limb formation, and how his work might lead to limb regeneration in the future.
(DNAi Location: Applications > Genes and medicine > Gene targeting > Animal models > Mouse models for limb formation)
And what we've often done is we see, we inactivate a particular gene and we see actually that the hand is malformed, then we can go actually to the human population and see are there humans that have the exact same malformation, and then, indeed there are, and then you can go and look at their genes and see that that particular gene is inactivated in a human. So this allows us essentially to make an analogy right away, between what we're doing in the mouse and what's happening in a mouse in terms of the genes that are responsible for making the hand and the human malformations. I mean in humans one percent of children are actually born without limbs, so it's an extremely common problem and now through studying these genes we'll be able to start understanding how you form a hand and maybe in twenty or thirty years we'll actually have enough information to be able to actually regenerate the limb and use this information to do actual limb regeneration.
Gene targeting techniques are used by scientists to simulate human genetic disorders in model organisms. Many scientists believe that gene targeting will lead the way to new methods for correcting genetic defects.