Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers create red-eyed mutant wasps

19.04.2017

Results from the Akbari lab at UC Riverside show that CRISPR gene-slicing technology works to study wasps

Researchers at UC Riverside's Akbari lab have brought a new strain of red-eyed mutant wasps into the world.


The red-eyed mutant Jewel wasp, seen on the right, was created in the lab using CRISPR technology. An unmodified Jewel wasp is seen on the left.

Credit: Akbari lab

The wasps were created to prove that CRISPR gene-slicing technology can be used successfully on the tiny parasitic jewel wasps, giving scientists a new way to study some of the wasp's interesting biology, such as how males can convert all their progeny into males by using selfish genetic elements.

No one knows how that selfish genetic element in some male wasps "can somehow kill the female embryos and create only males," said Omar Akbari, an assistant professor of entomology who led the research team. "To understand that, we need to pursue their PSR (paternal sex ratio) chromosomes, perhaps by mutating regions of the PSR chromosome to determine which genes are essential for its functionality."

... more about:
»CRISPR »DNA »Nasonia vitripennis »eggs »embryos »genes »insects

Enter the relatively new CRISPR technology, which allows scientists to inject components like RNA and proteins into an organism with instructions to find, cut and mutate a specific piece of DNA. Then researchers can see how disrupting that DNA affects the organism.

The end goal, in Akbari's case, is to better understand the biology of wasps and other insects, so they can find a way to control insects that destroy crops or spread diseases like malaria.

But the first step is figuring out how to use the CRISPR technology in such a small organism, something no one had ever done before, in large part because the work is pretty daunting, Akbari said. This is because jewel wasps lay their tiny eggs inside a blowfly pupa, which had to be peeled back to expose the teensy eggs.

How tiny? Imagine the blowfly egg sac as about the size of a small bean, Akbari said, and Jewel wasp eggs "about a quarter the size of a grain of rice....You're essentially pulling a small egg out of a larger egg, injecting it with components to mutate the DNA and then putting it back into the bigger egg to develop."

In the case of Akbari's mutant wasps, the team decided to slice the genes that control the color of the wasp's normally black eyes.

"We wanted to target a gene that would be obvious, and we knew from previous studies that if the gene for eye pigmentation was knocked out, they would have red eyes, so this seemed like a good target for gene disruption," Akbari said. "Big beautiful red eyes are something you won't miss."

But creating that disruption took some doing--well, a lot of doing, Akbari said. "You have to use a very-very fine needle and a microscope and individually inject hundred to thousands of embryos, but in the end, we developed a protocol that can be used to cut the DNA in this organism and we showed that it works."

The technique is challenging, Akbari said, "but it is learnable. You need a really steady hand and it requires a lot of patience in micro manipulation that one can learn over time. Ming Li, a postdoctoral researcher in our lab has mastered the technique."

And those scarlet-orbed wasps? They won't be going away anytime soon. The cuts in the DNA created a mutant wasp with heritable traits, which means those red eyes will be passed down to all their offspring in the future - an important quality for researchers who are looking for a stable line of insects to study.

###

The results were just published in Nature's Scientific Reports in an article called "Generation of heritable germline mutations in the jewel wasp Nasonia vitripennis using CRISPR/Cas9." Besides Akbari, the authors include Li, Abigail Chong and Bradley J. White of UCR and Lauren Yun Cook Au, Deema Douglah and Patrick M. Ferree from Claremont McKenna College in Claremont.

The research was supported by UCR startup funds.

Media Contact

Sean Nealon
sean.nealon@ucr.edu
951-827-1287

 @UCRiverside

http://www.ucr.edu 

Sean Nealon | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: CRISPR DNA Nasonia vitripennis eggs embryos genes insects

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht More genes are active in high-performance maize
19.01.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht How plants see light
19.01.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>