David O'Brochta

standard Call for Sweeping Moratorium on Gene Drive Research and Application at UN Biodiversity Conference

The UN Convention on Biological Diversity is currently holding their Biodiversity Conference in Cancun, Mexico.  Monday 160 organizations from six continents released a statement calling for a global moratorium on all work on gene drives, including laboratory research.   The […]

standard Genetic Dissection of RNAi in the Colorado Potato Beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata

RNAi works well in beetles, in general, and why that is is not all that clear but Yoon et al. (2016) have begun to identify key genetic contributors in their recent paper in Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  The authors […]

standard Genetically Modified Plant-Feeding Insects: A DARPA Project

When transgenic mosquito technology was being developed an idea was floated to use genetically modified mosquitoes as flying syringes to deliver important antigens to immunize people against various pathogens.  Informed consent among other things made this an overly complex problem […]

standard Dominant Maternal Effects Caused by CRISPR/Cas9

Expressing Cas9 and guide RNAs from transgenes integrated into the genome of organisms typically leads to higher rates of mutagenesis of the target gene compared to when those components are provided transiently by microinjection, for example. Lin and Potter describe […]

standard Loss of Function Mutations – Approaches, Limitations

Technologies are democratizing insect genetics and it seems as if everyone is thinking about making ‘knockouts’.  This is a good thing but as Housden et al. nicely explain in a recent paper in Nature Reveiws Genetics explain: “although LOF (loss […]

Guide RNA interacting with target DNA. Image credit: William Reid

standard Guide-RNA Engineering – Enhancing Activity and Function

The functionality of Cas9 is determined in part by the guide RNA with which it is associated. Norwak et al.(2016) review briefly how guide RNAs can be modified to enhance their function and to functionalize them in novel ways. Norwak […]