Traditional methods for studying gene functions in multicellular model organisms have several disadvantages, including the potential of lethal phenotypes due to a lack of temporal control. We are developing novel tools based on the interplay of small organic molecules and proteins, DNA, and RNA, which enable temporal and spatial control of gene function using light. These projects, together with our synthetic biology work (see above), are related to the field of optogenetics
. By using light as an input signal that can be controlled with high precision, these methodologies will enable the elucidation of gene function
with unprecedented resolution.