A multiplexed, confinable CRISPR/Cas9 gene drive can propagate in caged Aedes aegypti populations

Michelle A. E. Anderson, Estela Gonzalez, Matthew P. Edgington, Joshua X. D. Ang, Deepak Kumar Purusothaman, Lewis Shackleford, Katherine Nevard, Sebald A. N. Verkuijl, Timothy Harvey-Samuel, Philip T. Leftwich, Kevin Esvelt, Luke Alphey

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Aedes aegypti is the main vector of several major pathogens including dengue, Zika and chikungunya viruses. Classical mosquito control strategies utilizing insecticides are threatened by rising resistance. This has stimulated interest in new genetic systems such as gene drivesHere, we test the regulatory sequences from the Ae. aegypti benign gonial cell neoplasm (bgcn) homolog to express Cas9 and a separate multiplexing sgRNA-expressing cassette inserted into the Ae. aegypti kynurenine 3-monooxygenase (kmo) gene. When combined, these two elements provide highly effective germline cutting at the kmo locus and act as a gene drive. Our target genetic element drives through a cage trial population such that carrier frequency of the element increases from 50% to up to 89% of the population despite significant fitness costs to kmo insertions. Deep sequencing suggests that the multiplexing design could mitigate resistance allele formation in our gene drive system.
Original languageEnglish
Article number729
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2024

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