Scientists have been altering the genes of mice, pigs, goats, chickens and butterflies for quite some time. But even as Crispr, a transformative gene-editing tool, made seemingly impossible genetic alterations possible, reptiles had remained untouched.
That changed with the birth of a nearly transparent Anolis lizard, the first gene-edited reptile, according to the draft of a study made public this week.
Ashley Rasys, a graduate student at the University of Georgia who was involved in the lizard’s creation, arrived shortly after he broke through his thick M&M-size shell.
“I was floored,” she said.
“We weren’t really expecting to generate an albino lizard at first,” she added.
“When we want to understand human biology we go to one of these model systems,” said Douglas Menke, the director of the genetics department at the University of Georgia and another author of the study. Until now, all 10,000 species of reptiles have been...