The pronuclear (PN) injection technique was first established in mice to introduce foreign genetic materials into the pronuclei of one-cell stage embryos. The introduced genetic material may integrate into the embryonic genome and generate transgenic animals with foreign genetic information following transfer of the injected embryos to foster mothers. Following the success in mice, PN injection has been applied successfully in many other animal species. Recently, PN injection has been successfully employed to introduce reagents with gene-modifying activities, such as the CRISPR/Cas9 system, to achieve site-specific genetic modifications in several laboratory and farm animal species. In addition to mastering the special set of microinjection skills to produce genetically modified animals by PN injection, researchers must understand the reproduction physiology and behavior of the target species, because each species presents unique challenges. For example, golden Syrian hamster embryos have unique handling requirements in vitro such that PN injection techniques were not possible in this species until recent breakthroughs by our group. With our species-modified PN injection protocol, we have succeeded in producing several gene knockout (KO) and knockin (KI) hamsters, which have been used successfully to model human diseases. Here we describe the PN injection procedure for delivering the CRISPR/Cas9 complex to the zygotes of the hamster, the embryo handling conditions, embryo transfer procedures, and husbandry required to produce genetically modified hamsters.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/zhongde_wang/57/