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Analysis of mammal brain functions
Are the molecular mechanisms found in C. elegans conserved in higher organisms? Many genes we have focused on in C. elegans have orthologous genes in mammals. They may or may not have the same function as the genes in C. elegans. We are interested in how they function in other organisms.
Recently, we started generating knockout(KO) mouse for orthologous genes as a part of Grant-in-Aid research program called "Principles of memory dynamism elucidatekod from a diversity of learning system". By using the CRSIPR/Cas9 system, we can generate gene-targeted mice easily. To generate KO mice, all we have to do is inject the mRNA of Cas9 nuclease and guide RNA to an embryo. KO mice can be generated within a month by this system. As a collaboration with another group, now we are making KO mouse and going to study their neural activities and behavior.
Mouse and C. elegans have different advantages as model organisms. Mouse are more suitable for studying human-like brain functions, because they show higher brain functions such as many types of memories, sleep, emotion, sensation, motor controls and so on. By using these different types of model organisms, we are trying to understand the function of nervous system comprehensively.