The Drosophila gene disruption project: Progress using transposons with distinctive site specificities

Hugo J. Bellen, Robert W. Levis, Yuchun He, Joseph W. Carlson, Martha Evans-Holm, Eunkyung Bae, Jaeseob Kim, Athanasios Metaxakis, Charalambos Savakis, Karen L. Schulze, Roger A. Hoskins, Allan C. Spradling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Drosophila Gene Disruption Project (GDP) has created a public collection of mutant strains containing single transposon insertions associated with different genes. These strains often disrupt gene function directly, allow production of new alleles, and have many other applications for analyzing gene function. Here we describe the addition of ~7600 new strains, which were selected from > 140,000 additional P or piggyBac element integrations and 12,500 newly generated insertions of the Minos transposon. These additions nearly double the size of the collection and increase the number of tagged genes to at least 9440, approximately two-thirds of all annotated protein-coding genes. We also compare the site specificity of the three major transposons used in the project. All three elements insert only rarely within many Polycomb-regulated regions, a property that may contribute to the origin of "transposon-free regions" (TFRs) in metazoan genomes. Within other genomic regions, Minos transposes essentially at random, whereas P or piggyBac elements display distinctive hotspots and coldspots. P elements, as previously shown, have a strong preference for promoters. In contrast, piggyBac site selectivity suggests that it has evolved to reduce deleterious and increase adaptive changes in host gene expression. The propensity of Minos to integrate broadly makes possible a hybrid finishing strategy for the project that will bring > 95% of Drosophila genes under experimental control within their native genomic contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)731-743
Number of pages13
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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