Special Reports

University of California Riverside Successfully Creates Mutant Red Eyed Wasps [Video]


Mutant red eyed wasps may be things that can only be seen in horror, science fiction. But now, scientists have found a way to create these scary looking wasps just to prove how far gene-editing has gone. They made this possible by developing a process that essentially "copy and pastes" proteins on DNA.

The mutant red eyed wasps were made in The University of California Riverside's Akbari lab using the technique called CRISPR-Cas9 gene technology, IFL Science reported. The study published in Nature's "Scientific Reports" shows that the revolutionary process can accurately manipulate the proteins in a DNA faster than the usual.

This is the first gene disruption-based process done on hymenopteran insects, which is the order of insects that includes ants, bees, and wasps. This makes testing the new technology crucial to genetics. The scientists used these jewel wasps because they are used to learn about evolution and they are easy to breed.

Assistant professor of entomology Omar Akbari, who is the lead author of the study, said they used very fine needles to inject on each of the hundreds of thousands of embryos individually. It means they need to have really steady hands and a lot of patience. In this particular experiment, the scientists sliced the genes that can control the wasp's eyes, which are normally supposed to black.

Through the experiment, scientists can better understand insects' biology to help control those that carry diseases or pests to crops, UCR Today reported. Using CRISPR on small organisms is very daunting, which is why it needs a lot of mastering. Jewel wasp eggs are smaller than a grain of rice, and this is what they have to manipulate.

The eyes are the most obvious part of the wasps that they can manipulate. Now that the experiment proved effective, they can take it further by manipulating other more vital parts of insects.

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