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Gain-of-function and Loss-of-function research

  • Integrity Education, Delhi
  • 20, Jun 2021
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Gain-of-function’ research

  • In virology, gain-of-function research involves deliberately altering an organism in the lab, altering a gene, or introducing a mutation in a pathogen to study its transmissibility, virulence and immunogenicity.
  • This is done by genetically engineering the virus and by allowing them to grow in different growth mediums, a technique called as Serial Passage
  • This allows researchers to study potential therapies, vaccine possibilities and ways to control the disease better in future.

Loss-of-function’ research

  • It involves inactivating mutations, resulting in a significant loss of original function, or no function to the pathogen.
  • When mutations occur, they alter the structure of the virus that is being studied, resulting in altered functions.
  • Some of these significant mutations might weaken the virus or enhance its function.

Dual-use research of concern(DURC)

  • Inherent biosafety and biosecurity risks associated with genetic modified pathogen are referred as DURC
  • This indicates that while the research may result in benefits for humanity, there is also the potential to cause harm