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The ABCs of CRISPR in Tephritidae: developing methods for inducing heritable mutations in the genera Anastrepha, Bactrocera and Ceratitis

Sim, S. B., Kauwe, A. N., Ruano, R. E. Y., Rendon, P., Geib, S. M.
Insect molecular biology 2019 v.28 no.2 pp. 277-289
Anastrepha, Bactrocera, CRISPR-associated proteins, Ceratitis, fruit flies, gene editing, genes, germ cells, knockout mutants, methodology, molecular biology, pest management, pests, site-directed mutagenesis
Tephritid fruit flies are destructive agricultural pests that are the targets of expensive population eradication and suppression efforts. Genetic pest management is one of the strategies for reducing or eliminating tephritid populations, relying upon the genetic manipulation of insects to render them sterile or capable of transmitting deleterious traits through gene drive. Currently, radiation, chemical mutagenesis, and transgenic techniques are employed to generate agents for genetic pest management, but new methods must be explored and developed for all tephritid pest species. Targeted mutagenesis induced by nonhomologous end join repair of clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats and the CRISPR associated protein 9 (Cas9) (commonly known as CRISPR/Cas9) has been demonstrated to be an efficient method for creating knock‐out mutants and can be utilized to create germline mutations in Tephritidae. In this paper, we describe detailed methods to knockout the white gene in three tephritid species in the genera Anastrepha, Bactrocera and Ceratitis, including the first demonstration of CRISPR/Cas9 induced mutations in the genus Anastrepha. Lastly, we discuss the variables in tephritid systems that directed method development as well as recommendations for performing injections in remote containment facilities with little molecular biology capabilities. These methods and recommendations combined can serve as a guide for others to use in pursuit of developing CRISPR/Cas9 methods in tephritid systems.