The life cycle is very interesting and brutal: after mating with a male, the female searches for sponges to lay her eggs still alive and turn into a sort of “external womb”. The genome of Nasonia vitripennis is one of the most studied among all insect species, as it is very easy to breed and conduct laboratory tests with them. So far, however, no one has yet been able to modify aspen DNA. But now it is in the past: the scientists allowed the experimental females to lay eggs, and then they took the resulting flyweight “sarcophagi”, removed the eggs from them and modified their genome with the CRISPR / Cas-9 system, the use of which in the scientific environment is gaining popularity monthly. In fact, this system is a kind of scissors and glue that allows you to cut out a fragment of a DNA strand and replace it with another. As a result, after 19 days from the eggs hatched children mutants.
According to an article published the other day in Scientific Reports, the eyes of wasps, which used to be black, now have a bright red color. Mutations like these are inherited, so scientists can now pull out a subspecies of red-eyed insects, if necessary. This is a big step for science, but, as usual, it was not without blemishes: for example, scientists note the shortcomings of the system, as some components of CRISPR / Cas9 were for osaealnye. As a result, a regularity was formed: the more the oc gene is edited, the fewer individuals will survive, and vice versa. In addition, the change in genes could also lead to fatal consequences, or to the development of serious pathologies in insects.
The researchers claim that among the representatives of the order Hymenoptera, or the Hymenoptera (which includes most of the social insects, including wasps, ants, bees and bumblebees), this is one of the first successful cases of directed genetic mutation. Previously, Japanese scientists have already used this technology to edit the genes of the honey bee.
So what is the significance of the work done? As already mentioned, Nasonia vitripennis is excellent for the role of laboratory animals, as it is very simple and cheap to breed and maintain. The proof that their genome can be modified to suit humans, and all the wasps survive and develop as healthy individuals, not only proves that scientists have chosen the right method for changing the genome, but also helps them understand that individuals from unfertilized eggs by hatching Become males, and from fertilized females with females with twice as many chromosomes.