2022 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

Home Department: Undeclared
Mentor: Albert Wu (Ophthalmology)

“Generating an Eye Interspecies Chimera with Blastocyst Complementation”

Blastocyst (early-stage embryo) complementation is a technique used to create chimeras (organisms containing cells originating from 2 different fertilized cells) by implanting donor stem cells into a host embryo. Abigail aims to create the first eye interspecies chimera through removal via CRISPR and complementation with rat embryonic stem cells (rESCs). Healthy mouse embryos will be isolated and electroporated with guide-RNAs and Cas9 to remove genes essential for eye development (anophthalmia). Embryos will be allowed to develop to the blastocyst stage where rESCs will be injected to complement the deficient niche. The Wu lab hypothesizes that the anophthalmic mouse will develop rat eyes with rESC complementation. This work will determine if removal of genes responsible for eye development via CRISPR and blastocyst complementation with rat homologs is possible.