|Inflammatory bowel diseases researchers hope to test for using genetically modified bacteria (File:Crohn's Disease vs Colitis ulcerosa.svg, Retrieved from Wikimedia Commons)|
At the moment, monitoring the human digestive tract is a difficult task; however, the health of the digestive tract is important to one's overall health. In the quest to find better methods of testing for inflammatory bowel diseases (such as the ones pictured above), researchers from Rice University worked to edit Escherichia coli bacteria--a common, well-studied intestinal microbe--for this purpose. First, they worked to isolate genes that allow for the detection of sulfur compounds linked to inflammation. They then inserted this gene along with that of green fluorescent protein and tested it in healthy mice and in mice with inflammation of the bowels. Analysis of the excrement for green fluorescent protein showed that mice with inflammation of the bowels expressed the protein while healthy mice did not. The researchers hope to apply this in humans in the form of an easy, take-home medical test.
This article is an application of techniques done in lab with plasmid DNA and helps further emphasize the versatility of using plasmids to accomplish a variety of tasks.
Article from which post was based on
Original Published Journal Article