• Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

Extra Legs or No External Genitalia: How Scientists are Unraveling the Power of Tgfbr1 Gene in Embryonic Development

BySamantha Jones

Apr 3, 2024
Creating a six-legged mouse for the first time

In Portugal, a team of scientists have successfully created a 6-legged mouse embryo with an extra pair of hind legs instead of external genitalia. Moisés Mallo, a biologist at the Gulbenkian Institute of Sciences in Oerias, Portugal and his colleagues are studying the receptor protein called Tgfbr1, which plays a role in embryonic development. They stopped the activity of the Tgfbr1 gene in mouse embryos during pregnancy to study its effects on spinal cord development.

The Tgfbr1 gene codes for a protein called transforming growth factor beta type 1 receptor, which is involved in cellular responses like cell growth and division. Mutations in this gene can increase the risk of skin cancer. The researchers discovered that inactivating the Tgfbr1 gene in mouse embryos led to the development of hind legs instead of external genitalia.

The team found that Tgfbr1 dictates whether structures develop into genitals or legs. This means that inactivating the protein can alter the activity of other genes, resulting in mice with extra legs and no external genitalia. The researchers plan to investigate how Tgfbr1 and related genes affect other systems, such as cancer metastasis, and whether similar processes occur in reptiles with double penises.

The embryos used in the study were collected from mice aged 3-6 months. The research team dissected the embryos and analyzed them further without distinguishing between male and female embryos since their external genitalia do not differ. Further research will focus on understanding the broader implications of the Tgfbr1 gene in development and disease.

In conclusion, this study highlights how scientists are constantly pushing boundaries and exploring new possibilities through genetic manipulation. It also sheds light on how even small changes can have significant impacts on an organism’s development. The findings could potentially lead to new treatments for diseases caused by mutations in this gene or even new insights into human evolutionary history if similar processes occur in other species.

By Samantha Jones

As a content writer at newsnnk.com, I weave words into captivating stories that inform and engage our readers. With a passion for storytelling and an eye for detail, I strive to deliver high-quality and engaging content that resonates with our audience. From breaking news to thought-provoking features, I am dedicated to providing informative and compelling articles that keep our readers informed and entertained. Join me on this journey as we explore the world through the power of words.

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