The Drosophila RNAi Screening Center (DRSC) at Harvard Medical School was founded by Prof. Norbert Perrimon in 2003 to provide community support for genome-wide RNAi screens in cultured Drosophila cells.
Now, more than a decade later, we are still going strong and what we offer has significantly expanded.
Our reagents and online tools are designed with D. melanogaster foremost in mind but many of the reagents and online tools will also be of interest to researchers working with other insects.
Below are a few highlights. I also invite you to explore our www.flyrnai.org website to learn more.
Given our focus on functional genomics and new technologies, we jumped right on board the CRISPR-Cas bandwagon. We developed a pre-computed database of CRISPR short guide RNA (sgRNA) designs (http://www.flyrnai.org/crispr2/) that can be viewed in JBrowse format (Ren et al. 2013), as well as an ‘efficiency calculator’ (http://www.flyrnai.org/evaluateCrispr/) based on our own and published data on sgRNA efficiency.
We recently launched a tool accessible at www.flyrnai.org/HRMA that supports high-resolution melt analysis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Resolution_Melt), which can be used to detect CRISPR-Cas mediated mutations in any organism (for a protocol see Housden et al. 2014). The DRSC HRMA tool provides access to the approach for those who can do the experimental steps (e.g. using a qPCR machine) but do not have access to the software needed for the analysis.
Additional online tools and protocols:
Our most frequently used online tool is our integrative ortholog prediction tool DIOPT, which combines results from several ortholog prediction algorithms for ortholog prediction among common model organisms (http://www.flyrnai.org/diopt).
Those interested in using double-stranded RNA for RNAi in other species can browse our step-by-step protocols (http://www.flyrnai.org/DRSC-PRS.html) and search cell-based Drosophila RNAi screens and results (e.g. at Screen Summary http://www.flyrnai.org/screensummary).
The Transgenic RNAi Project RSVP database of in vivo RNAi results (http://www.flyrnai.org/RSVP) might be of interest to those knocking down orthologs of fly genes in other species. Along these lines, we have been thinking about how we might integrate data in RSVP with data in other insect RNAi databases such as iBeetleBase (http://ibeetle-base.uni-goettingen.de/).
Additional DRSC resources and online tools include everything from network visualizations (e.g. http://www.flyrnai.org/SignedPPI/) to a tool that converts text in 96- or 384-well formats into lists and vice versa (http://www.flyrnai.org/cgi-bin/DRSC_serialize.pl).
“As a community-focused center, we are always open to new suggestions for reagents, online tools and more, and will offer whatever advice we can in our areas of expertise. Stephanie Mohr, Ph.D., DRSC Director”