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Efficient CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome modification of the glassy-winged sharpshooter Homalodisca vitripennis (Germar).


CRISPR/Cas9 technology enables the extension of genetic techniques into insect pests previously refractory to genetic analysis. We report the establishment of genetic analysis in the glassy-winged sharpshooter (GWSS), Homalodisca vitripennis, which is a significant leafhopper pest of agriculture in California. We use a novel and simple approach of embryo microinjection in situ on the host plant and obtain high frequency mutagenesis, in excess of 55%, of the cinnabar and white eye pigmentation loci. Through pair matings, we obtained 100% transmission of w and cn alleles to the G3 generation and also established that both genes are located on autosomes. Our analysis of wing phenotype revealed an unexpected discovery of the participation of pteridine pigments in wing and wing-vein coloration, indicating a role for these pigments beyond eye color. We used amplicon sequencing to examine the extent of off-target mutagenesis in adults arising from injected eggs, which was found to be negligible or non-existent. Our data show that GWSS can be easily developed as a genetic model system for the Hemiptera, enabling the study of traits that contribute to the success of invasive pests and vectors of plant pathogens. This will facilitate novel genetic control strategies.

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