The uses of CRISPR (Cas-9) in Morphology

These Doryteuthis Pealeii are the first CRISPR gene edited squid. Like all squids, they’re masters at editing their own genes. Now Joshua Rosenthal at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and his colleagues managed to edit them too - turning off the genes that produce pigment in their skin.

Though their main creation was a potential model for studying brain evolution, it just goes to show what can be achieved using CRISPR.

Imagine a clear-as-glass rattlesnake, where we can see the internal workings while the thing is still alive.

With the belief that CRISPR could not be used on reptiles a thing of the past, I think we are going to see some amazing creations pop up in the next decade or two.

Add to that that some breeders are able to splash really large amounts of money on new genes, I can see it becoming the main way new morphs are discovered in the future.

A article on this.

Nature article on this.

@chesterhf and @t_h_wyman can probably dive into this deeper than myself, but I’m personally keeping my fingers crossed for a bright blue Boa :crossed_fingers::joy:

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I mean… They have already started it with anoles:

The thing is, for wholesale new morph creation you need a complete and fully annotated genome of the organism you want to change. And we do not have those for any of our species.

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@t_h_wyman Do you know why it is that there have been so many more studies on Burmese pythons as opposed to ball pythons? There’s an annotated genome that’s publicly available for them, and it seems like way more papers have been published on their biology. Are they of more interest because of their role in being an invasive species or is there something else that makes them a better candidate for study?

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Bioluminescent kingsnakes…!

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I think it may be that Burms, being larger, are a better candidate for dissection and such when it comes to physiology studies. I also think the huge number of offspring they produce makes for a more an easier “resupply”

And, yeah, their status as invasive probably makes it easier to secure funding for studies

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Enjoy (I specifically cover glowing snakes starting around 1:20:20):

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Thanks for the fun watch!

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I think a clear skin snake in where you can see their organs, would be quite cool. It would also be pretty expensive. :sweat_smile:

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I’d love a see through reptile of some sort! But now that I think of it, would being clear affect its ability to bask?

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@t_h_wyman would it be possible to make a venomous snake like a Monocle Cobra non-venomous? Because as a person that feels that keeping venomous snakes is too much of a risk for heath issues etc. Could Cas-9 do that? Because that would open many doors for many keepers in the hobby. So that is what I would want.

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First off, most venomous snakes especially Cobras do not constrict their prey and their only means of effectively killing prey is their venom. So if you were to take that away how would they kill prey? I don’t think it’d be a wise thing to do at all. Messing with the colors on a snake by breeding them? sure. Making a glowing snake? go ahead. Taking away their means to kill prey that they developed over millions of years of evolution? that’s a big no no from me. @t_h_wyman what do you think?

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I actually asked Travis this question recently.
Though, more around selective breeding than Cas-9. Here is his answer…

"How to breed a non-venomous cobra? take a bunch of cobras, have them bite mice and look for ones that die slower. Take the ones that have the venom that takes the longest to kill and breed them. Repeat, repeat, repeat… Once mice stop dying, move up to rats. Repeat, repeat, repeat… Once rats stop dying, move up to rabbits. Repeat, repeat, repeat… Once rabbits stop dying, move up to dogs. Repeat, repeat, repeat… Once dogs stop dying, move up to monkeys. Repeat, repeat, repeat… Once monkeys stop dying, move up to NHPs. Repeat, repeat, repeat… Once NHPs stop dying, perform analysis on saliva and see if there are any kind of venom compounds left. Next, CT scan animals and see if they still have venom glands and take the ones with the smallest glands and breed them together. Repeat, repeat, repeat… Next, genome sequence representative animal. Find the genes responsible for growth/development of the venom gland. Genome sequence individual animals from all these years. See if any have mutations to those genes that renders them permanently damaged, ideally you want multiple different mutatoins. Use those animals as your permanent stock for producing non-venomous cobras.

Or… Just buy a cribo"

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So true…I personally have looked into cribos

Google image search “glass frog”:
https://www.google.com/search?q=glass+frog&client=firefox-b-1-e&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjtlbbDrPrrAhX-lnIEHQ6VBtoQ_AUoAXoECBsQAw&biw=3440&bih=1326
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Generally I agree with you, although, for a species like a king cobra or something similar, it might not make a difference as they can just overpower their prey like Drymarchon do.

That said, if/when “at-home” genetic manipulation becomes available you will inevitably face the ‘Why climb Mt. Everest?’ phenomenon

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I agree with the fact that gene editing could be used just to the point that we use it to make whatever we want. Like for instance what your kids should look like or even if it is a boy or girl. But I do believe that this is too far. I way saying would that be possible to make a venomous snake more or less like a crbio? If so, that may be to far in my books. So that what I wanted to know

Possible now? No. Possible in the future, probably. How far in the future? Who can say

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I don’t believe I have heard of that. Could you explain?

Why was Mt Everest ever climbed?
Because it was there.

People will tinker with EVERYTHING just because they can.

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I think there are some boundaries that must be set in place

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@lumpy
That’s is a complete topic in itself, the ethics of genetic modification. Where do we stop?, Why do we stop?, How do we stop?

Once it becomes readily available then it gives rise to a whole new breed of “geneticists” working from the basements, with next to no regulations.

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