Happy New Year!
I'll try and get back into the swing of things but things have been pretty hectic in terms of priorities (inside and outside work) and while I was wanting to do an update on some exciting experiments, they've been hitting a few bumps and it's hard to not sound negative about negative results! But I really am finding the current work interesting and, dare I say, fun. For those who are wondering - it's CRISPR in flies. It's looking like it's becoming the "in" technique at the moment, largely because it has the ability to do several things such as gene editing, deleting and tagging with (apparently) high levels of efficiency.
I'm really keen on using it for endogenous tagging but I'm still in the process of evaluating how well it works in deleting genes. So far it's 1 gene out of 4 attempts - hence the negative results. I have another batch coming through next week in a make or break attempt (multiple guide RNA combos). Although I'm strongly considering going down the endogenous tagging route on the off-chance it is more successful.
Anyway, trying something new can actually be a great way to stimulate interest in a project and I'd urge others to leap into these things when given the opportunity to do so. My only caveat is that you have to be convinced of all the cool downstream things you can do with it once you have it working. It may not be CRISPR for you but try and find that up-and-coming (or cool-but-somewhat-scary) technique that catches your attention. I know people who have had fun (and a lot of success) with SILAC and a colleague is currently sinking his teeth into APEX with what's looking very promising (and multi-functional in terms of imaging/labelling). I even heard about a technique today that involves using lasers to "detonate" proteins of interest (Chromophore assisted light inactivation/CALI).
My goal is to hopefully have CRISPR set up in the flies so that I (and others from the lab) can pick a novel gene of interest and;
1) delete it/generate a null
2) tag it endogenously with GFP/HA/Cherry (quicker than generating antibodies in theory)
3) replace gene with point mutations (also under endogenous expression)
Those three things should allow me to do a ton of different experiments - assuming step 1 gives something of interest.
It may not be working perfectly but my new year's resolution (besides negating the xmas spread - also not working perfectly) is to to get it working or find valid reasons to ditch it.
You should pick something too; if you're really up for it, develop a technique from scratch rather than use an existing technique. Imagine how cool it would be to develop the next RNAi or CRISPR? And if you do try to avoid winding up as a van driver - unless that's what you want to do!