T h e I s o p o d P r o j e c t
The first phase of the project involved selective breeding of separate species of the same suborder to produce hybrid offspring that exhibited taxonomic characteristics of more than one genus. The genetic variations that have stabilized in these individuals makes them better candidates for successful genome transfers.
Phase two consists of sequencing the genome of multiple hybrid specimines to isolate genes resopnsible for characteristics such as size, color and texture. A suitable viral vector genome must also be mapped in order to determine its potential for transfection of the desired genes. The IIV (Isopod Iridescent Virus) seems to be the most promising candidate.
Once the necessary genetic mapping information is compiled and analyzed phase three will begin. Several different biotech companies will be interviewed and sanctioned to bid on the synthesis of peptide strings and the subcloning of genes of interest (GOI) or shRNA into related pIIV cis-plasmids. The contract will go to the most capable and cost effective firm.
Viral transfection of the modified vector is the fourth stage of developing the new isopod. The modified virus will be used to infect the hybrid specimens with synthesized genomes. The number of new characteristics capable of being transfered by the vector depends on the viral RNA's capacity to store extra genes and will only be known after the genome has been mapped and analyzed. It is possible that multiple vectors will be needed for the transfer of desired genes and the use of hybrid specimens that are able to accept genes from other species will greatly assist this process.