Generation of Gene Drive Mice for Invasive Pest Population Suppression

M. D. Bunting, C. Pfitzner, L. Gierus, M. White, S. Piltz and P. Q. Thomas,  Applications of Genome Modulation and Editing,  2022.

Gene drives are genetic elements that are transmitted to greater than 50% of offspring and have potential for population modification or suppression. While gene drives are known to occur naturally, the recent emergence of CRISPR-Cas9 genome-editing technology has enabled generation of synthetic gene drives in a range of organisms including mosquitos, flies, and yeast. For example, studies in Anopheles mosquitos have demonstrated >95% transmission of CRISPR-engineered gene drive constructs, providing a possible strategy for malaria control. Recently published studies have also indicated that it may be possible to develop gene drive technology in invasive rodents such as mice. Here, we discuss the prospects for gene drive development in mice, including synthetic “homing drive” and X-shredder strategies as well as modifications of the naturally occurring t haplotype. We also provide detailed protocols for generation of gene drive mice through incorporation of plasmid-based transgenes in a targeted and non-targeted manner. Importantly, these protocols can be used for generating transgenic mice for any project that requires insertion of kilobase-scale transgenes such as knock-in of fluorescent reporters, gene swaps, overexpression/ectopic expression studies, and conditional “floxed” alleles.

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