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The mutagenic chain reaction: A method for converting heterozygous to homozygous mutations [Science]

Keywords: Gene family evolution, Endosymbiosis, Gene duplication, Phylogenetics

by Frédéric Magné - published on , updated on

An organism with a single recessive loss-of-function allele will typically have a wild-type phenotype while individuals homozygous for two copies of the allele will display a mutant phenotype. Here, we develop a method that we refer to as the mutagenic chain reaction (MCR), which is based on the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing system for generating autocatalytic mutations to generate homozygous loss-of-function mutations. We demonstrate in Drosophila that MCR mutations efficiently spread from their chromosome of origin to the homologous chromosome thereby converting heterozygous mutations to homozygosity in the vast majority of somatic and germline cells. MCR technology should have broad applications in diverse organisms.

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