Reference: Maselko M, et al. (2017) Engineering species-like barriers to sexual reproduction. Nat Commun 8(1):883

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Abstract


Controlling the exchange of genetic information between sexually reproducing populations has applications in agriculture, eradication of disease vectors, control of invasive species, and the safe study of emerging biotechnology applications. Here we introduce an approach to engineer a genetic barrier to sexual reproduction between otherwise compatible populations. Programmable transcription factors drive lethal gene expression in hybrid offspring following undesired mating events. As a proof of concept, we target the ACT1 promoter of the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae using a dCas9-based transcriptional activator. Lethal overexpression of actin results from mating this engineered strain with a strain containing the wild-type ACT1 promoter.Genetic isolation of a genetically modified organism represents a useful strategy for biocontainment. Here the authors use dCas9-VP64-driven gene expression to construct a 'species-like' barrier to reproduction between two otherwise compatible populations.

Reference Type
Journal Article | Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Authors
Maselko M, Heinsch SC, Chacón JM, Harcombe WR, Smanski MJ
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