University of Oulu

Konu, M., Kulmuni, J. & Viljakainen, L. (2023) Genetic modification of the ant Lasius niger using CRISPR-Cas9 technology. Insect Molecular Biology, 32( 1), 11– 25. Available from:

Genetic modification of the ant Lasius niger using CRISPR-Cas9 technology

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Author: Konu, Mauno1; Kulmuni, Jonna2; Viljakainen, Lumi1
Organizations: 1Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Organismal and Evolutionary Research Programme, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 5.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-10-12


CRISPR-Cas9 has become one of the most prominent gene editing tools available and it has been utilized in various organisms from bacteria to fungi, plants, and animals. In this study, we developed a CRISPR-Cas9 protocol for the black garden ant Lasius niger, a common and easily available study species for lab and field experiments. To create indel mutations using CRISPR-Cas9 in L. niger, we targeted three different locations in a well-studied eye pigmentation gene cinnabar, generating several mutations that disrupt the ommochrome biosynthesis pathway and result in the lack of the pigment and therefore, abnormal eye coloration in adult workers. We also developed a protocol to collect L. niger eggs, inject them with CRISPR-Cas9 construct, and rear the eggs into mature adult workers with the assistance of nursing workers. We demonstrated for the first time in L. niger that CRISPR-Cas9 is an excellent tool to create targeted mutations for this species. Our protocol can be referred to when developing similar studies for other species of ants and eusocial insects.

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Series: Insect molecular biology
ISSN: 0962-1075
ISSN-E: 1365-2583
ISSN-L: 0962-1075
Volume: 32
Issue: 1
Pages: 11 - 25
DOI: 10.1111/imb.12809
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1184 Genetics, developmental biology, physiology
Funding: This study was funded by the Emil Aaltonen Foundation (LV), Academy of Finland grant number 343022 (LV), Societas Biologica Fennica Vanamo (MK) and the Kuopio Naturalists' Society (MK). JK was funded by Academy of Finland grant number 328961.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 343022
Detailed Information: 343022 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2022 The Authors. Insect Molecular Biology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Royal Entomological Society. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.