When the California gold rush began, the story goes that it was the guys selling picks and shovels that made the booty.
What would be the equivalent of “picks and shovels” in genetics research then? Well, it would be “platforms” that enable research in many different ways, and “methods” of analysing data so it makes sense as information.
The “knockout mouse” is an example of such a platform. In the simplest terms, a knockout mouse is one where both alleles of a particular gene have been replaced with inactive alleles.
The knockout mice have been used to create transgenic mice. Transgenic mice are created by introducing foreign genetic material into knockout mice embryos.
Transgenic mice are like a human pathology laboratory, which can enable the modelling and hence the study of cancers, obesity, diabetes, arthritis, and Parkinson’s disease amongst other health issues.
Since the knockout mouse enabled the gold rush of genetic research, it is only befitting that the ultimate booty – the Nobel Prize – goes to those who made it possible.