The microcrustacean Daphnia pulex is an important model for environmental, ecological, evolutionary and developmental genomics because its adaptive life history displays plasticity in response to environmental changes. Even though the whole‐genome sequence is available and omics data have actively accumulated for this species, the available tools for analyzing gene function have thus far been limited to RNAi (RNA interference) and TALEN (the transcription activator‐like effector nuclease) systems. The development of the CRISPR/Cas9 (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/CRISPR‐associated 9) system is thus expected to further increase the genetic tractability of D. pulex and to advance the understanding of this species. In this study, we developed a genome editing system for D. pulex using CRISPR/Cas9 ribonucleoprotein complexes (Cas9 RNPs). We first assembled a CRISPR single‐guide RNA (sgRNA) specific to the Distal‐less gene (Dll), which encodes a homeodomain transcription factor essential for distal limb development in invertebrates and vertebrates. Then, we injected Cas9 RNPs into eggs and evaluated its activity in vivo by a T7 endonuclease I assay. Injected embryos showed defective formation of the second antenna and disordered development of appendages, and indel mutations were detected in Dll loci, indicating that this technique successfully knocked out the target gene.
Genes to Cells – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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