A versatile vector set for animal transgenesis
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Genetic manipulation of a series of diverged arthropods is a highly desirable goal for a better understanding of developmental and evolutionary processes. A major obstacle so far has been the difficulty in obtaining marker genes that allow easy and reliable identification of transgenic animals. Here, we present a versatile vector set for germline transformation based on the promiscuous transposons mariner, Hermes and piggyBac. Into these vectors, we introduced a potentially universal marker system that is comprised of an artificial promoter containing three Pax-6 homodimer binding sites. This promoter drives strong expression of spectral variants of the enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) in larval, pupal, and adult photoreceptors. Using special filter sets, the yellow (EYFP) and cyan (ECFP) variant are fully distinguishable and therefore represent a separable pair of markers. Furthermore, we adapted a simple plasmid-based transposition assay system to enable quick functional tests of our vectors in different arthropod species before employing them in more laborious germline transformation experiments. Using this system we demonstrate that our vectors transpose in both Drosophila melanogaster and Drosophila virilis.
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