Team CGRG genetically modifies Hawai‘i sourced Culex quinquefasciatus (southern house mosquito)

Monday, March 9, 2020, 10:22pm by

Last year team CGRG (Conservation Genomics Research Group) genetically modified Hawai‘i sourced Culex quinquefasciatus (southern house mosquito) to test stable incorporation of components of our reversible gene drive system (note two genes were inserted, not the full drive system). This work was Jared Nishimoto’s TCBES M.Sc. thesis, which he defended in July 2019, and was also developed it into an undergraduate teaching lab module.

white-eyed Culex mosquito pupae compared to black-eyed Culex mosquitor larvae

Photos taken by Jared Nishimoto

Team CGRG is currently completing construction of the full gene drive system, and plan to use CRISPR to insert it alongside an eye-color phenotype marker. They began using CRISPR in the lab a few weeks ago, and here are some early results: white-eyed Culex pupae. One photo is a wildtype shown for comparison – it has black eyespots. These photos are from G0s (injected eggs) so the next step is to rear them to see if they have a stable germline modification (the previous modification was germline stable).

Once CGRG has a high quality reference genome data (sequencing is underway), they will be able to complete the gene drive construct and start working to incorporate it into the lab colony.

All of this work is being done strictly in laboratory colonies.