Efficient screening of CRISPR/Cas9-induced events in Drosophila using a Co-CRISPR strategy

Nanci S. Kane, Mehul Vora, Krishna J. Varre, Richard W. Padgett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Genome editing using the Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) and associated nuclease (Cas9) enables specific genetic modifications, including deletions, insertions, and substitutions in numerous organisms, such as the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. One challenge of the CRISPR/Cas9 systemcan be the laborious and time-consuming screening required to find CRISPR-induced modifications due to a lack of an obvious phenotype and low frequency after editing. Here we apply the successful co-CRISPR technique in Drosophila to simultaneously target a gene of interest and a marker gene, ebony, which is a recessive gene that produces dark body color and has the further advantage of not being a commonly used transgenic marker. We found that Drosophila broods containing higher numbers of CRISPR-induced ebony mutations ("jackpot" lines) are significantly enriched for indel events in a separate gene of interest, while broods with few or no ebony offspring showed few mutations in the gene of interest. Using two different PAMsites in our gene of interest, we report that ~61%(52-70%) of flies from the ebony-enriched broods had an indel in DNA near either PAMsite. Furthermore, this marker mutation system may be useful in detecting the less frequent homology-directed repair events, all of which occurred in the ebony-enriched broods. By focusing on the broods with a significant number of ebony flies, successful identification of CRISPR-induced events is much faster and more efficient. The co-CRISPR technique we present significantly improves the screening efficiency in identification of genome-editing events in Drosophila.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-93
Number of pages7
JournalG3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


  • Cas9
  • Co-conversion
  • Drosophila


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