Compendium of Genome Engineering

Koen Venken, Baylor University, IGTRCN Participant

Koen Venken, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Baylor University, Houston, Texas, Koen is one of the organizers of and instructors in IGTRCN’s Technical Workshop that was offered in August 2015.

Koen Venken and colleagues have just published an excellent review of ‘Genome Engineering: Drosophila melanogaster and beyond‘ that is comprehensive and highly informative, and should serve as a useful reference for anyone interested in genome modification techniques with nucleotide precision in insects (not just Drosophila).

The review is divided into 4 main sections:

  • Molecular Players and Reaction Outcomes in Genome Engineering
  • Practical Aspects of Genome Engineering
  • Genome Engineering Paradigms
  • Future Directions

In Molecular Players the authors review recombinases, integrases, nucleases, meganucleases, zinc finger nucleases, transcription activator-like effector nucleases and RNA-guided nucleases. The authors capture some of the important details including the numerous variants that exist and how they are used. They include highly informative figures that clear illustrate key features and reactions. Also of some interest is their explicit discussion of advantages and disadvantages of these various systems.

“We are witnessing a technological revolution at several levels that will not only facilitate biological research in fruit flies, but can also be extrapolated to other existing and emerging insect model organisms.” Venken et al. (2015)

DmelIn Practical Aspects of Genome Engineering the authors embryo microinjection, in vivo remobilization of various technology components and ‘upgrading’ existing collects of transgenic animals that might contain older technology.

Delivering Genetic Technologies by Microinjection.

Delivering Genetic Technologies by Microinjection.

The section on Genome Engineering Paradigms they review a large collection of technologies including chromosomal exchanges and syntenic replacements to the creation of various chromosomal mutations including deletions, inversions, translocations and duplications, as well as precise genomic transgene additions. They end this section with a brief discussion of organelle engineering.

Basic idea behind Recombination Mediated Cassette Exchange. Image Credit: Wu Lab, Harvard U.

Basic idea behind Recombination Mediated Cassette Exchange.
Image Credit: Wu Lab, Harvard U.

What should make this review of some interest to those working on insects other than Drosophila melanogaster is its useful aggregation of most of the contemporary genome engineering technologies allowing one to see in a matter of 15 or so pages what the current state of the art is and what is actually possible.

Venken, K. J. T., Sarrion-Perdigones, A., Vandeventer, P. J., Abel, N. S., Christiansen, A. E. et al., 2015 Genome engineering: Drosophila melanogaster and beyond. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Developmental Biology: n/a-n/adoi: 10.1002/wdev.214.


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