Reverse-engineering of Behaviors

 Creating eusocial fruit flies using genetic knowledges with genome-editing technologies

Recent CRISPR/Cas9 genome-editing technology enables us to do genetic modification of eusocial insects such as honey bees of which were not possible to do it. In 2014, researchers successfully deliver piggyBac-based gene vectors that integrated efficiently and resulted in transgenics. They have not established colonies of transgenic honeybees but were able to show that G0 queens produced transgenic drones. If this technique is combined with CRISPR/Cas9 MCR, we can do honey bee genetics to understand the mysteries of eusociality. 

Useful Links and Articles

 Reverse-engineering of behaviors

This is a major accomplishment for which those working on honeybees should be thankful. While perhaps not easy, the path Schulte et al have blazed is a very important one. Schulte, C., Theilenberg, E., Müller-Borg, M., Gempe, T., & Beye, M. (2014). Highly efficient integration and expression of piggyBac-derived cassettes in the honeybee (Apis mellifera). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(24), 9003–8. doi:10.1073/pnas.1402341111

The goal of the NSF-funded Insect Genetic Technologies RCN is to connect insect scientists for the purpose of disseminating advanced technologies for genome modification of insects through symposia, technical workshops, and training fellowships. The network is open to all: students, postdocs, researchers, technicians and faculty. I encourage you to participate in the IGTRCN by sharing your ideas and collaborating with others in the community.