Monday, December 15, 2014

Thinking ahead--What could custom CRISPR engineered cell lines do for your research?

Open call to the Drosophila research community from the DRSC:

Since it was founded in 2003 by Prof. N. Perrimon, the Drosophila RNAi Screening Center (DRSC) has served as a technology transfer center, helping the Drosophila community-at-large gain access to leading-edge technologies such as genome-wide RNAi.

As readers of this blog are likely aware, we have been working to support technology transfer in many areas additional to RNAi, including in the area of CRISPR-Cas9 engineering. For example, we developed and made freely available a database of short guide RNAs, accompanying genome browser-based online user interface, and sgRNA efficiency prediction tool to help support sgRNA selection for CRISPR-Cas9 engineering in flies (see

The DRSC will apply early next year (end of February 2015) for renewal of our NIH R01 grant funding, which makes it possible for us to provide all we do to the community.

One of the things we are beginning to do with community members, and would like to propose to expand and continue in the next funding cycle, is to build custom CRISPR-Cas9-modified cell lines. These can be of value for a wide range of studies, including but not limited to RNAi screens using custom engineered cells (e.g. knockout mutant cells for sensitized screens, endogenously tagged loci for reporter assays or to screen for disruption of sub-cellular localization).

In short, we need your help!

If custom engineered cells would help your research--i.e. if you can imagine turning to the DRSC to help support making and/or screening of specific custom lines for your research within the next, say, 1-3 years, and particularly if you're a US-based lab, we would appreciate if you'd please get in touch and be willing to write a letter of support for our renewal application. We are of course also interested to hear from folks who are planning to use our library resources for other types of screens in the next few years, and from others who are depending on continuity of online resources and/or research services at the DRSC. Ideas for additional tools or resources are also welcome.

Please contact, or have your PI contact, DRSC Director (and blog author) Dr. Stephanie Mohr.