Science China. Life sciences

Genome editing in Drosophila melanogaster: from basic genome engineering to the multipurpose CRISPR-Cas9 system.

PMID 28527116


Nowadays, genome editing tools are indispensable for studying gene function in order to increase our knowledge of biochemical processes and disease mechanisms. The extensive availability of mutagenesis and transgenesis tools make Drosophila melanogaster an excellent model organism for geneticists. Early mutagenesis tools relied on chemical or physical methods, ethyl methane sulfonate (EMS) and X-rays respectively, to randomly alter DNA at a nucleotide or chromosomal level. Since the discovery of transposable elements and the availability of the complete fly genome, specific genome editing tools, such as P-elements, zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs) and transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs), have undergone rapid development. Currently, one of the leading and most effective contemporary tools is the CRISPR-cas9 system made popular because of its low cost, effectiveness, specificity and simplicity of use. This review briefly addresses the most commonly used mutagenesis and transgenesis tools in Drosophila, followed by an in-depth review of the multipurpose CRISPR-Cas9 system and its current applications.