Serratia marcenscens. Image credit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serratia_marcescens

Vertical and Horizontal Transmission in Paratransgenic Anopheles Mosquitoes

Wang et al. (2017) report results in Science that appear to make significant progress toward solving one of the more challenging problems associated with using paratransgenic approaches for sustainable insect phenotype modification. Paratransgenesis is an interesting concept involving the genetic […]

A selfish gene (blue) spreading through a mosquito population

Driving Transgenes with Disassortative Mating

Pike et al. (2017) in a recent publication in Science describe a novel approach to rapidly increasing transgene frequencies in mosquito populations (‘gene drive’) for the purposes of reducing or eliminating Plasmodium transmission. There is increasing attention within the insect […]

Funded postdoc position available in the Merlin lab to study butterfly migration and circadian clocks

The Merlin lab at Texas A&M University (https://www.merlinlab.org) has a position open immediately for a post-doctoral fellow to develop CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knock-in approaches in monarch butterflies to tag clock neurons in vivo and study the clock circuitry that controls seasonal behavior. […]

Terms associated with the butterfly wings. For detailed explanation, refer Glossary of entomology terms.

Somatic Mutagenesis as a Powerful Functional Genomics Tool in Insects

Two recent papers published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences are notable examples of using the CRISPR/Cas9 system to create somatic mutants to probe gene function.  Mazo-Varga et. al (2017) and Zhang et al. (2017). Both studies explore […]

Gene Drive

Will CRISPR/Cas9 Gene Drives Spread and How Could They Be Prevented From Doing So?

In an interesting paper published in PNAS, Tanaka, Stone and Nelson (2017) explore the potential for spatial spread of CRISPR/Cas9 gene drives. The authors examine a continuous time, spatial generalisation of the CRISPR/Cas9 population genetics model published by Unckless et […]

A recent scheme showing the consequences of distorting mosquito sex ratios using a "precision" drive system.

Strategies for Driving Out Invasive Species

Prowse et al. (2017) present their modelling work in the Proceedings of The Royal Society B on various different CRISPR/Cas9-based gene drives aimed at suppressing populations of exotic vertebrate species on islands (focusing on mice (Mus musculus)).  The issues addressed […]

Underdominance. Heterozygotes are less fit than either possible homozygotes. 01 vs 00 or 11

Conditions for Successful Underdominance Gene Drive

Edgington and Alphey (2017) report their modeling efforts in the Journal of Theoretical Biology on conditions under which engineered underdominance gene drive systems could result in successful population replacement. Underdominance refers to a situation where heterozygotes are selected against within […]