Technology Topics

This is a community blog to capture ongoing developments in and applications of insect genetic technologies.
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Uses for nuclease defective CRISPRS

CRISPR/Cas9 in Drosophila – Other Insects not far behind.

While genome editing technologies have been available for the past decade or so, until recently they have been challenging and expensive to use. The Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat (CRISPR/Cas9) system is changing all of that. This bacterial defense […]

User-designed molecular scissors.

Ins and Outs of Genome Editing

Targeted genome engineering (that is, the modification of the genome at a precise, predetermined locus) is broadly applicable to insect research. The availability of programmable nucleases is a game changer for those interested in modifying insect genomes for any number […]

Insect Genetic Technologies for Mosquito Control

Applying Insect Genetic Technologies to Mosquito Control

The development and use of genetic technologies in a few mosquito species that are major vectors of human pathogens has been on factor in driving or, more appropriately, reviving interest in using genetics-based strategies to control these insects. Transgenic technologies […]

Microinjection needles and life stages of four species of Lepidoptera. from Beaudette et al. 2014, Biotechniques

Germ-Line Transformation of Junonia coenia

Many of today’s insect genetic technologies are delivered to the germ-line of target species by direct injection of developing embryos. This is actually a major limitation to the adoption of these powerful technologies in some insect research communities– one simply […]

Feeding or Microinjecting dsRNA into Aphids for Gene Silencing.

Aphid Hemolymph and Gut Degrade dsRNA

Aphids are sap-sucking insects of great economic importance, and recently the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum had its genome sequenced and annotated.  Insect genetic technologies are in high demand for this insect but it is proving to be a real challenge. […]

Development, Growth & Differentiation Devote Issue to Genome Editing

Genome editing with engineered nucleases is an emerging technology that enables manipulation of targeted genes in many organisms and cell lines. Development, Growth & Differentiation has devoted an entire issue to genome editing.  The paper describing the successful use of […]

Improved Lineage Marking in Drosophila

Marking cells has been a powerful tool for developmental biologists studying Drosophila melanogaster for many decades.  Insect genetic technologies, in particular site specific recombination systems, have allowed this lineage marking and tracking method to become highly robust and controlable.  Enhancer […]

Chimera, a mythic creature composed of lion, snake and goat

Marking Clones: Past and Future

As Perrimon and colleagues point out chimeras or mosaics have played and continue to play an important role in our analysis of development.  In Drosophilia the technology for creating mosaics is mature and powerful.  Even before transgenic technologies provided precision […]

EMS-induced Aphid Mutants.

Aphid Genetics

Reverse genetics has become a particularly popular approach to the genetic analysis of insects because of the widespread  applicability of gene silencing technologies like the injection or feeding of dsRNA.  While a relatively blunt tool, dsRNA injection has been used […]

vasa Cas9 expressing Drosophila. From Xue et al. 2014

Vasa Cas9 Experession Yields Good Mutation Rates in Drosophila

Xue and colleagues report efficient knock-out and knock-in manipulations of the Drosophila genome with a Cas9 transgenic system. Others have made similar observations.  Xue et al. report the germline mutational rate ranging from 14% to 95%. They also demonstrated the […]

Feed or Inject dsRNA in Aphids – It Depends

RNAi-based gene silencing has been reported but it has been problematic. The authors’ direct comparison of injection and feeding of dsRNA targeting the cathepsin-L gene in the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum. Single aphids were analyzed at the level of five […]

Strategy for Y engineering; from Bernardini et al. 2014

Advanced Mosquito Genetic Engineering

For mosquitoes the number of genetic modification technologies that can and have been applied continues to grow, and while still not as deep as the Drosophila toolbox the mosquito toolbox is still impressive in the right hands. Bernardini et al. […]

Basic structure of a morpholino oligonucleotide

Morpholino use in Mosquitoes is Promising

Antisense technologies have had limited application because oligodexoynucleotides in vivo have very limited stability. This stability problem due to rapid degradation of short DNA molecules limits the bioavailability of the molecules. Over the years there has been an evolution of […]