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Novel Optogenetic Setup Enables Deep Brain Genetic Manipulation In Vivo

A team of researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST; Daejeon, Korea) has presented a noninvasive light-sensitive photoactivatable recombinase suitable for genetic manipulation in vivo. The highly light-sensitive property of photoactivatable Flp recombinase will be ideal for controlling genetic manipulation in deep mouse brain regions by illumination with a noninvasive light-emitting diode (LED). This optogenetic module made by Professor Won Do Heo and his team will provide a side-effect-free and expandable genetic manipulation tool for neuroscience research.

Spatiotemporal control of gene expression has been acclaimed as a valuable strategy for identifying functions of genes with complex neural circuits. Studies of complex brain functions require highly sophisticated and robust technologies that enable specific labeling and rapid genetic modification in live animals. A number of approaches for controlling the activity of proteins or expression of genes in a spatiotemporal manner using light, small molecules, hormones, and peptides have been developed for manipulating intact circuits or functions.

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