Connecting genotypes, phenotypes and fitness: Harnessing the power of CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing

Jeremy M. Bono, Eugenia C. Olesnicky, Luciano M. Matzkin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


One of the fundamental goals in evolution and ecology is to identify the genetic basis of adaptive phenotypes. Unfortunately, progress towards this goal has been hampered by a lack of genetic tools available for nonmodel organisms. The exciting new development of the CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat)/Cas9 (CRISPR-associated nuclease 9) genome-editing system now promises to transform the field of molecular ecology by providing a versatile toolkit for manipulating the genome of a wide variety of organisms. Here, we review the numerous applications of this groundbreaking technology and provide a practical guide to the creation of genetic knockouts, transgenics and other related forms of gene manipulation in nonmodel organisms. We also specifically discuss the potential uses of the CRISPR/Cas9 system in ecological and evolutionary studies, which will further advance the field towards the long-standing goal of connecting genotypes, phenotypes and fitness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3810-3822
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular ecology
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • genetic manipulation
  • genetics of adaptation
  • reverse genetics
  • RNA interference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics


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