Image: Courtesy of Invitrogen
 AIDING RESEARCH INSIDE AND OUT: Recombinases allow scientists to easily move DNA between vectors in vitro (as shown above, using Invitrogen's Gateway technology). In vivo, they enable researchers to knockout genes in specific tissues, and at specific developmental times, facilitating the study of otherwise "embryonic lethal" genes.

Transgenic mice. Drought-tolerant canola. Medication-producing plants. And the still-unrealized potential of gene therapy. These four represent just a small sampling of the power of gene-targeting technology. But as researchers are painfully aware, gene targeting could be more powerful still. The problem, explains Michael Fernandez, director of science at the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology, "is that whenever genes go into plants [or animals], they may inadvertently alter another function." This is possible largely because of the randomness of gene insertion: An inserted gene may end up anywhere in the genome. As a result, the relocated gene may...

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