Bounties attract serious brainpower to the challenge.
A fully automated mouse lab for longitudinal studies. It would be place-and-forget, remotely monitored and operate independently for the full lifespan duration of the mice. The system would manage all the needs such as feeding, cleaning, providing therapy as required by the research.
Such a labs could be placed in enviroments that are dificult to manage (ocean floor, low-radiation deep mines, space, moon, Mars)
Disclaimer: I hate myself for comming up with this idea as well. However, not having such a solution would still result in the same fate for mice, except there would be manual human work involved which would stretch over longer time to achieve the same amount of experiments.
Automatic genetical engineering of novel human-disease mouse models
J. NikolaFeb 19, 2022
The research models are good if they can simulate human disease. Nowadays, many diseases are not researched properly due to the lack of proper model organisms. What if we added an abstract feature to the autonomous lab to autonomously generate new mouse models?
Personally, I am not okay with an autonomous robot-orchestrated lab that not only feeds mice and cleans their feces but also creates new genetically modified mice that can serve as a research tool. It would further support the development of animal research models since no human would feel guilty of modifying, killing, or "torturing" the animals. I am keen on finding better 2D cell culture or in silico models that can give the same results.
Automated genetical engineering could result in thousands of new models
New mouse models could be tested in the existing databases and compound banks (pharmaceutical companies fishing for compounds)
Novel gene functions, pathways and connections could contribute to our understanding of the diseases and disorders
Automated genetical engineering could be made high-throughput
Easy to combine with sequencing or mass spectrometry to produce new omics data
Could work as a click&pay center for remote experiments for any scientist in the world
How would it work?
The lab could perform autonomous
Random transgene insertion
to discover novel functions of genes, their involvement in signaling and disease development
any gene at any place
robot would randomly produce high number of mice with random insertions and scan them through databases for the interesting ones; then it would reshape the transgene or modify the method and try again
Targeted gene insertion
to tackle specific problems and explore gene functions within the narrow spectre
specific gene/s on desired place
robot would get specific orders to follow in order to find a matching phenotype/genotype that could be used by the customer
In past, humanization of mice models was done either by random insertion of transgenes or by targeted genomic humanization. While the first one is cheaper and faster, it was sort of "out of control". Transgenes could be inserted in multiple locations and copies, they could easily split to a single allele through breeding and could disrupt genes near the transgene. The second approach reduced the uncertainty by insertion of a single copy of transgene on a desired location, but at much greater cost and time. Although much more specific and reliable reliable, the targeted genomic humanization still lacks to include pre-mRNA splicing regulation that may have occurredin humans, since cDNA is introduced. To eliminate all the above-mentioned problems, the best thing would be to use new methods such as TruHumanization, which completely replaces mouse gene by human genomic sequence, including the non-coding part.