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Gene Screen Reveals Unseen

MIT News

Genome-wide screens can be performed in cell culture models, but fail to capture important information from cells' native contexts. Seeking to address this shortfall, Kristin Knouse has developed a new high throughput technique that uses CRISPR to perform genome-wide screens in living mice. Described in Cell Genomics, the approach is accessible, scalable, and adaptable to diverse applications. She demonstrated the approach in a study of cell fitness genes in the mouse liver, which revealed insights not evident in cell culture, involving cellular interactions with molecules in the surrounding environment or immune cells. Her team plans to apply the new screening technique to liver regeneration, and could also use it to study conditions such as fatty liver disease and cirrhosis, which both can lead to liver cancer.