A new CRISPR Cas9 genome editing technique developed by researchers now works on cockroaches. It’s officially called “direct parental” CRISPR (DIPA-CRISPR) and consists of injecting materials into female adults where eggs are developing rather than into the embryos themselves, which limits its applications. Scientifically speaking, the team injected Cas9 ribonucleoproteins (RNPs) into the adult female cockroaches’ main body cavity to introduce heritable mutations in developing egg cells.
Unfortunately, this approach is not directly applicable to all insect species, like fruit flies, as the most critical parameter for success is the injection stage of the adult females. This means that for DIPA-CRISPR to be successful, the research team is required to have good knowledge of ovary development. By further improving the DIPA-CRISPR technique, researchers hop to eventually enable genome editing in almost all of the over 1.5-million species of insects. Or, you can just deal with insect-sized robots capable of solving a LEGO maze in seconds.
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In a sense, insect researchers have been freed from the annoyance of egg injections. We can now edit insect genomes more freely and at will. In principle, this method should work for more than 90% of insect species,” said Takaaki Daimon, senior study author of Kyoto University.