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Easy Insect Gene Editing
Cell Reports Methods Cover Art

Until now, insect gene editing technology had a limit and was not applicable to wide species because current approaches rely on embryo injection. To overcome this limitation, Yu Shirai and his team at Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University established a simple and efficient method for insect gene editing, termed “direct parental” CRISPR (DIPA-CRISPR.)

The paper can be seen at the following links.

(Cell Reports Methods )

Not to embryo, but to parent


DIPA-CRISPR incorporates direct adult injection of commercially available standard Cas9 proteins. The team tried DIPA-CRISPR to matured cockroach females and confirmed that the injected females produced gene-edited nymphs (about 20% nymphs were gene-edited from all hatchlings.) They also succeeded in creating white-eyed knockout cockroaches after inbreeding the DIPA-CRISPR-edited cockroaches, which means that edited alleles are inherited to the next generation.

DIPA-CRISPR was first applied to cockroaches and easily enabled the first establishment of knockout cockroaches. Frankly, I felt little scared…

A hook of the research highlights is “a simple and efficient method.” I heard that even students can use DIPA-CRISPR without intense training. So, I proposed an idea that two students pinning paper crafts of various types of insects to the wall. Pinning also implies "direct" parental injection.

I actually made 12 insect paper crafts. Those were all scanned then decorated into the cover format. I also added a paper garland of DNA to make an atmosphere of party to celebrate a new technology.

A finished Cover Art (with official Cell Reports Methods logo.)

The official legend of the art, as published by Cell Reports Methods as follows:

“On the cover: Most current approaches for insect gene editing require microinjection of materials into early embryos, which is challenging in most species. In this 1st anniversary issue, Shirai et al. present DIPA-CRISPR, a simple and easy gene editing method in insects that incorporates direct adult injection of Cas9 ribonucleoproteins. The cover image shows two students pinning paper crafts of various types of insects to the wall and highlights that the method enables successful genome editing of non-model insects. Cover credit: Misaki Ouchida.”

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