Dr Lydia Teboul is the Head of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the Mary Lyon Centre (MLC) of MRC Harwell. She manages a number of services including, genome engineering, expression analysis and embryo phenotyping. Lydia runs the CRISPR and Conditional Transgenic courses at MRC´s Advance Training centre and also leads the Genome Editing Mice for Medicine (GEMM) programme.
Lydia Teboul from INFRAFRONTIER partner MRC Harwell has been awarded the 3Rs Prize 2020 of the International Society for Transgenic Technologies (ISTT). The prize recognises Lydia’s work in developing a new technique to reduce the number of animals used in research.
CRISPR-Cas9, the Nobel Prize winning gene editing technology, has vastly improved and accelerated genetic research in recent years. However, whilst the new tools are specific and efficient when delivered into an embryo, not every cell in the modified animal will carry the desired or the same mutation. This results in genetically complex animals called mosaics. It is essential that animals with the correct mutation are identified and selected for further breeding to establish mouse colonies for biological studies. However, classical genotyping methods are not well adapted to unequivocally characterise these mosaic animals.
Alongside the development of new technologies for genome engineering, methods to efficiently identify and remove the animals with undesired mutations are required. Lydia and her group have developed a method that quickly and accurately screens the modified animal for allele variations in order to identify and validate desired animals before breeding them further. They have developed a long-read based sequencing method that sequences the genome to identify if the correct mutation is present or not. This technique creates an efficient selection process, ensuring only animals with the correct mutation are bred and used further in research, overall preventing the unnecessary breeding of animals.