Acta Biológica Colombiana
Print version ISSN 0120-548X
The way to study genetics has notably progressed in the last decades. Their origins date back to the study of hereditary features, followed by the discovery of genes and chromosomes up to the knowledge of DNA structure. This last event led to the development of recombinant DNA technology and the massive and automated sequencing, which allowed later to determine the anatomy of genomes. All of these discoveries have pushed the evolution of biomedicine towards the genomic and postgenomic eras, in which the use of reverse genetics prevails over the basic or direct one. Furthermore, it emerges the molecular genetics, the functional genomics and the diverse -omics- technologies that together pretend to understand, in an integrative way, the function of all of the genome components and its products. Biogerontology, discipline that studies the biological mechanisms of aging, is one of the fields that has developed notoriously in the last 15 years and reflects the scientific advances of the postgenomic era. Currently, there have been identified several gerontogenes and molecular pathways that modify and regulate age-related processes and diseases. Among these genes are the sirtuins, an evolutionarily preserved family of genes, which codify for proteins with NAD+ dependent deacetylase activity and that play an important role on aging. In this work, we review different reverse genetics approaches that have been used in order to identify some of the functions of these genes in mammals.
Keywords : aging; sirtuins; disease animals models; recombinant DNA; genetics; genomics; molecular biology; genetic engineering; gene targeting.