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Researchers use CRISPR-Cas9 to create transgenic Hydractinia symbiolongicarpus, a cnidarian, for the first time.

Jun 25, 2018
Sukanya Charuchandra
The transgenic Hydractinia symbiolongicarpus 
STEVEN SANDERS, DEPARTMENT OF SURGERY, UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH, AND GREG GIBSON, CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL IMAGING, UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH

Researchers genetically manipulated a saltwater cnidarian, called Hydractinia symbiolongicarpus, using CRISPR-Cas9 technology. The research appeared as a preprint in bioRxiv on June 8.

Cnidarians, a phylum of invertebrate animals to which jellyfish, sea anemones, and corals belong, can be used as model systems for developmental biology, regeneration, and aging. This is the first time researchers have inserted fluorescent transgenes into the germline of a cnidarian, Hydractinia symbiolongicarpus, using CRISPR-Cas9. Specific proteins, visualized with the help of several different fluorescent tags, can be spotted in the transgenic organisms.  

S.M. Sanders et al., “CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene knockin in the hydroid Hydractinia symbiolongicarpus,” bioRxiv, doi:10.1101/342592, 2018.

Clarification (June 26):  We erroneously implied this was the first time CRISPR-Cas9 was used in Cnidarians. In fact, this is the first time the technique has been used to insert transgenes into the germline.