The key difference between gene knockout and knockdown is that the gene knockout is a technique where the gene of interest is completely removed (inoperative state) to study of functions of the gene while gene knockdown is another technique where the gene of interest is silenced to investigate the role of the particular gene in a biological system.
Different genetic techniques are in operation to investigate the functioning of genes within the living biological systems. Gene knockout and knockdown are two such techniques. These techniques help scientists to identify functional aspects of different genes in living organisms.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Gene Knockout
3. What is Gene Knockdown
4. Similarities Between Gene Knockout and Knockdown
5. Side by Side Comparison – Gene Knockout vs Knockdown in Tabular Form
What is Gene Knockout?
Gene knockout is a genetic technique that makes one or more genes inoperative in living organisms. This is also a process of switching off or deleting a gene of an organism. The primary application of this technique is to study the gene function. The process evaluates the effect of the lost or removed gene. The knockout process also involves certain enzymes and splicing techniques.
There are few variations in the gene knockout technique based on the number of genes involved. They are double knockout (knockout of two genes), triple knockout (knockout of three genes) and quadruple knockout (knockout of four genes). Gene knockout is further classified into two groups; heterozygous knockouts and homozygous knockouts.
What is Gene Knockdown?
Gene knockdown is an experimental procedure where this procedure suppresses or reduces the expression of a particular gene or genes of an organism. Gene silencing is the common definition for gene knockdown. During this procedure, the activation or the degradation of the produced mRNA involves RNA interference (RNAi), small interfering RNA (siRNA) and short hairpin RNA (shRNA).
The primary use of gene knockdown is to investigate the role of the particular gene in the biological system. Therefore, this technique accomplishes the study of oncogenes (Bcl-2 and P53) and genes that cause neurological diseases, viral infections and hereditary diseases.
What are the Similarities Between Gene Knockout and Knockdown?
- Both gene knockout and gene knockdown are genetic techniques.
- These two techniques can prevent gene expression.
- The primary use of both techniques is to investigate the function of the gene of interest.
- Both are capable of identifying different disease conditions (genetical).
- They both could be utilized for one or more genes of interest.
What is the Difference Between Gene Knockout and Knockdown?
Gene Knockout vs Knockdown
|Gene knockout is in-operation of genes (removal of genes from DNA) of an organism through different genetic techniques.||Gene knockdown is an experimental procedure to suppress (reduce or silence) the expression of a particular gene or genes of an organism.|
|Facilitates the study of functions of genes by analyzing the results of the lost gene.||Facilitates the study of oncogenes, genes that cause neurological diseases, viral infections, and hereditary diseases.|
|Involvement of RNA Agents|
|Involvement of RNA agents is insignificant in this technique.||The process involves the agents such as siRNA, shRNA, and RNAi to inactivate the mRNA.|
|Use of Chemical Agents|
|Enzymatic agents are used.||No such chemical agents are used.|
|Effect on Gene|
|Completely removes the gene from the DNA.||Suppress or silence the gene.|
|Double knockout, triple knockout and quadruple knockout and heterozygous and homozygous knockout are different types of gene knockout.||No such classification systems available for gene silencing.|
Summary – Gene Knockout vs Gene Knockdown
The two techniques we discussed here; the gene knockout and knockdown, are methods to investigate the functions of different genes. Gene knockout completely makes the gene inoperative while gene knockdown silence the gene of interest. However, both procedures prevent the gene expression. Different agents are capable of accomplishing these two processes. Gene knock out is a type of deletion while gene knockdown is a type of inactivation. This is the difference between gene knock out and knockdown.
1.’Knockout Mice5006-300’By Maggie Bartlett, NHGRI. (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2.’RNAi-simplified’By Matzke MA, Matzke AJM (2004) Planting the Seeds of a New Paradigm. PLoS Biol 2(5): e133 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0020133., (CC BY 2.5) via Commons Wikimedia