Tissue-specific genome editing in ciona embryos by CRISPR/Cas9

Alberto Stolfi, Shashank Gandhi, Farhana Salek, Lionel Christiaen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The CRISPR/Cas9 system has ushered in a new era of targeted genetic manipulations. Here, we report the use of CRISPR/Cas9 to induce double-stranded breaks in the genome of the sea squirt Ciona intestinalis. We use electroporation to deliver CRISPR/Cas9 components for tissue-specific disruption of the Ebf (Collier/Olf/ EBF) gene in hundreds of synchronized Ciona embryos. Phenotyping of transfected embryos in the ‘F0’ generation revealed that endogenous Ebf function is required for specification of Isletexpressing motor ganglion neurons and atrial siphon muscles. We demonstrate that CRISPR/Cas9 is sufficiently effective and specific to generate large numbers of embryos carrying mutations in a targeted gene of interest, which should allow for rapid screening of gene function in Ciona.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4115-4120
Number of pages6
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Ascidians
  • CRISPR/Cas9
  • Ciona
  • Ebf
  • Genome editing
  • Islet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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