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Development of CRISPR gene drive technology in mice

One of the most exciting applications of genome editing technology is the use of CRISPR gene drives to modify native or invasive pest populations to benefit human health, ecosystems or agriculture. 

For example, it may be possible to curb malaria by spreading a malarial resistance gene through mosquito populations that carry the disease-causing parasite. 

CRISPR gene drives are small DNA “cassettes” that encode CRISPR machinery (Cas9 and gRNAs) and are located at a specific position in the genome. Once activated, the gene drive element replicates itself ensuring that it is passed on to the next generation. 

While gene drives have recently been published in insects and yeast, they have not yet been developed in other species.

The aim of this project is to develop gene drive technology in mice. Using state-of-the-art molecular genetic approaches, we will develop transgenic mice carrying gene drive cassettes and determine the efficiency of gene drive replication and spread in cage trials. We will test a range of approaches including different endonuclease platforms (e.g. SpCas9 versus Cpf1), target site strategies (e.g. fertility and viability genes) and fluorescent reporters.

Research techniques include design and preparation of CRISPR reagents, mouse handling, fluorescence microscopy, PCR and sequencing.

Professor Paul Thomas

Supervisor

Professor Paul Thomas

Research area: Genome editing

Recommended honours enrolment: Honours in Molecular and Biomedical Science

Tagged in Honours projects - Molecular and biomedical science, Honours projects - Paul Thomas, Honours projects - Molecular and biomedical science: Biochemistry