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Nat Biotechnol. 2016 Sep;34(9):982-6. doi: 10.1038/nbt.3643. Epub 2016 Aug 1.

Engineered non-Mendelian inheritance of entire parental genomes in C. elegans.

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Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany.


The ability to rewrite the rules of genetic segregation would open new possibilities in diverse areas of biotechnology ranging from breeding to epigenetics. Here we engineer non-Mendelian inheritance of the entire maternal or paternal genome in Caenorhabditis elegans by changing the structure of the mitotic spindle during the first cell division of the zygote. Using germline-specific overexpression of a single protein, the conserved microtubule force regulator GPR-1, we increase forces that pull on spindle poles to convert the single bipolar mitotic spindle to two monopolar spindles. This generates two-cell embryos in which one cell contains only the maternal chromosomes and the other cell contains only the paternal chromosomes. As the embryo develops, each cell of the animal, including the germ cells, contains the genetic material of only one parent, resulting in hybrid F1 animals. Progeny of these animals (F2) inherit either only F0 maternal or only F0 paternal chromosomes, and thus descend from only either of their grandparents' gametes.

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