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PLEASE HELP; 'Can genetic engineering determine a community's crime rate?'

Postby TimaAlshammaa » Sun Mar 24, 2019 5:20 am

I've recently switched my project topic from neurology to genetics. I hope someone can tell me if my procedure makes sense since I didn't get a chance to read too intensively on genetic engineering.

Can genetically engineering the hereditary MAOA gene in a human embryo affect behaviour, and ultimately a community’s crime rate? This project is a simulation of such a situation, to show that genetic engineering can affect not just the single individual but the whole community. I will exhibit this claim by mutating another species’ gene, the Brewer’s yeast cells’ FLO1, to see if there’s an increase in the number of flocs overtime, and how that affects other factors, like their reproduction rate.

Prepare three normal Brewer’s yeast culture on petri dishes, observe behaviour
Perform bacterial knock-out on FLO1 gene of yeast cells on one dish
Prepare a plasmid with the sgRNA, a plasmid carrying Cas9 + lambda red genes, and the repair template, ssDNA oligo
Transform pCas9 on dish; wait to grow at 30०C on kanamycin plates
Make cells electrocompetent by introducing lambda red genes
Cotransform p-target carrying sgRNA as well as repair template by electroporation
Screen cells for FLO1 gene knockouts
Place edited cells in second petri dish so that the number of cells on both dishes are relatively similar
Report, daily, the number of flocs in each dish, as well as any growth.

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Re: PLEASE HELP; 'Can genetic engineering determine a community's crime rate?'

Postby MS15 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 1:18 pm

I would like to point out a couple of things that may be helpful for you to think about in your project.
1. Flocculation is entirely a physical phenomenon of cells sticking together via protein-protein and protein-carbohydrate interactions. It is not a very appropriate proxy for behavior as the organisms are not actively deciding to flocculate.
2. Flocculation is observed when yeast cells are growing in liquid culture so it may not be possible to demonstrate flocculation with yeast grown on plates (where they will form colonies).

If you want to show that genetic disruption can affect behavior, it may be worth considering organisms like worms (C elegans) or flies (Drosophila melanogaster) in which single gene disruptions lead to huge changes in behavior that are easy to detect and monitor. If you have access to these organisms, and are able to incorporate them into your project (creating the mutants will be more complicated though), I am happy to look at ideas that you may have or answer any further questions.
Best wishes!

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