CRISPR Technique Allows Cockroaches To Be Genetically Edited

Scientists will employ a breakthrough CRISPR approach that allows them to modify the genomes of insects to edit cockroaches without having to go through the arduous procedure of egg injection. The researchers believe their novel method might be applied to many insects and could help insect geneticists solve a mountain of problems.

In a way, insect researchers are no longer bothered by egg injections, according to senior study author Takaaki Daimon of Kyoto University.

“We can now freely and at will modify insect genomes.” In theory, this approach should work for more than 90% of bug species.”

The findings have been published in Cell Reports Methods.

The “direct parental” CRISPR (DIPA-CRISPR) procedure includes injecting genetic editing materials into the mother insect while the eggs are growing. Results in inherited mutations in the developing eggs, resulting in children with the desired genetic alterations.

Previously, scientists had to introduce genetic material into growing embryos by microinjection. However, this complex procedure was often impossible in many insect species due to reproductive systems that prevented access to the source. In addition, the technique was costly for those who could afford it, needing both specialized instruments for each bug species and employees trained enough to utilize them. This meant that research on one species was difficult to reproduce on another, and genetically editing some species (such as the cockroach) was nearly impossible.

The scientists used simple injections of CRISPR components and desired RNA to induce mutations in cockroach offspring with a 22 per cent efficiency (how many of the progeny carried the conversion), with even better outcomes for other insect species. The method’s success in two different species shows it could be useful in many more, which is something insect genetics has lacked.

While the method is a big step forward, it still requires more work before becoming industry standard. In addition, the efficiency is modest compared to other CRISPR applications, and DIPA-CRISPR does not work on fruit flies, one of the most extensively used model species. However, once improved, the availability of the necessary ingredients and the basic procedures utilized in DIPA-CRISPR may allow for rapid deployment.

“We may enable genome editing in practically all of the more than 1.5 million species of insects by enhancing the DIPA-CRISPR approach and making it even more efficient and adaptable,” Daemon explains.

“It’s feasible that may use a similar strategy to modify the genomes of other arthropods.” Agricultural and medicinal pests like mites and ticks and significant fishery resources like shrimp and crabs are among them.”

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