image: pictured is the control (upper left) in the mouse model of ad with varying levels of the deleted gene (other three panels). note that aβ; plaques (green) were fewer as... view more credit: © riken national science instituteresearchers at the riken center for brain science have discovered a mutation that can protect against alzheimer's disease in mice. published in the scientific journal nature communications, the study found that a specific mutation can reduce the characteristic accumulation of the amyloid-beta peptide that occurs.most of us are aware of the mental and behavioral changes that occur in people with alzheimer's disease. perhaps less well-known outside the scientific world are the physical changes that happen in the brain. one of the hallmarks of the disease is the accumulation of plaques between neurons. these plaques are made from amyloid-beta, which is the leftover part of the amyloid precursor protein (app) before it has been cut up. building off of previous research, the team led by takaomi saido created mice with a mutated app gene, hoping that it could reduce the formation of amyloid-beta plaques.previous research had led the team to believe that an app gene with a specific deletion might reduce amyloid-beta build up. they used crispr technology to replace the normal gene with the mutated version, and indeed observed less amyloid-beta accumulation in the mouse model of the disease.this knock-in process is a little messier than it sounds, a...