Drosophila

Multiplexing gRNAs to Hedge Against Resistance to Gene Drive

Recently, Oberhofer et al (2018) published a paper examining the mechanisms of homing endonuclease gene drives in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. They used a novel nuclease-encoding cassette containing four multiplexed gRNAs targeting genes required for viability […]

HyperActive piggyBac Transposase for Transgenesis

Eckermann et al. (2018) recently published a report in Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology demonstrating the efficacy of hyperactive piggyBac transposase for creating transgenic insects, which may be of interest to researchers looking to initiate transgenic projects in ‘non-model’ insect […]

Engineered Translocation-based Underdominance Gene Drive

A recent paper by Buchman et al. in ACS Synthetic Biology details the development of an underdominance effect through engineered chromosomal translocations in Drosophila melanogaster. The principle of using underdominance as a mechanism for driving desirable genes into populations has […]

Recreating tra-2 Alleles in D. suzukii

Li and Handler (2017) have recently reported using CRISPR/Cas9 to make a temperature-sensitive transformer-2 (tra-2) allele in the pest species Drosophila suzukii by mutating the nucleotides orthologous to the Drosophila melanogaster tra-2ts2 allele. This study demonstrates an important proof of […]

Advances in CRISPR/Cas9 Genome Editing in Drosophila Lead the Way for Applications in Other Insects.

In the January edition of FlyBook (Genetics) Bier et al. review the recent advances in CRISPR/Cas technologies applied to the fruit fly, delving into the details of established and cutting-edge methods and their potential applications to future studies in this […]

Cas9 Expression Patterns Impact on Resistance Evolution in Different Genetic Backgrounds

Gene drive systems are sensitive to the evolution of resistance in the form of polymorphisms in the guide RNA’s target DNA sequence.  Champer et al. (2017) have recently reported on their exploration of how Cas9 expression patterns as well as […]

Cas9-Mediated Gene-Drive In Mosquitoes

Gantz and Bier who demonstrated the fundamental principles of a Cas9-based gene drive system using Drosophila melanogaster in a publication earlier this year have recreated that system in the mosquito Anopheles stephensi with the help of collaborators.  Gantz et al. […]

Short Course on Insect Genetic Technologies – August 2015

The Insect Genetic Technologies Research Coordination Network is offering a short course on insect genetic technologies August 17-21, 2015. Today there are myriad technologies for modifying genomes. Technologies are emerging rapidly and it is a challenge for investigators to keep […]

Exchangeable Cassettes Controlled by Endogenous Genes

Two recent publications, Gnerer et al. and Diao et al., address the issue of recreating the fine transcriptional patterns of endogenous genes with binary expression systems in insects. Binary expression systems are extremely powerful tools for controlled gene manipulation. The […]

Pulling Recent CRISPR/Cas9 Work in Drosophila Together

Xu et al. review the recent history of using CRISPR/Cas9-based technologies in Drosophila melanogaster. Within the last two years there have been numerous publications describing the use of CRISPR/Cas9-based technologies in Drosophila melanogaster.  These last two years have been a time […]

The Drosophila RNAi Screening Center (DRSC) – A functional genomics resource useful to all insect biologists.

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 […]

Towards a Medea Drive System in Anopheles Mosquitoes

Germ-line specific promoters are useful to insect biologists and Biedler and colleagues (2015) in a just-published paper in G3-Genes|Genomes|Genetics report their efforts to identify, isolate and test maternal germline-specific genes and promoters in the Asian malaria vector, Anopheles stephensi. “We […]

Plasmids for Rapid and Versatile Genome Editing

As is the case for many other organisms, CRISPR has rapidly become the method of choice for targeted genome modification in insects. Much of the method development has been taking place in the model organism Drosophila melanogaster, where, in little […]

Compendium of Fly Methods – Good for Other Insect Biologists

Elsevier has recently published a volume of Methods dedicated to Drosophila developmental biology tools.  These include general tools such a forward genetic tools as well as genome engineering tools among others. Another section focuses on tools and methods for studying […]

Mutagenesis, Transposons and Transgenes: State-of-the-Art

The genetic tools available for use in Drosophila melanogaster are second to none. Insect scientists working on other insect systems and who also want to acquire or develop various genetic technologies should always be keeping their eyes on technological developments […]

Six Tandem Cherries -> Very Bright Insects

Insect genetic modification technologies rely heavily on the use of fluorescent proteins as genetic markers, expression reporters etc. Colors vary, as do fluorescent outputs. Shearin et al. (2014) describe their efforts to increase signals from two popular fluorescent proteins, EGFP […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]