As published in Nature Communications earlier this month, a large-scale RNAi phenotypic screen in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum, revealed exciting new gene discoveries. For this screen called iBeetle, Eupheria provided a library of double-stranded (ds) RNA silencers, targeting over 9,300 different transcripts. The RNA silencers of 480 bp on average were selected based on our proprietary DEQOR algorithm, which identifies RNA sequence stretches for efficient recognition by the RNAi machinery and minimal off-target effects.
The authors of this study selected about 5,600 of these silencers, or iB-RNAs, to inject red beetle pupae and larvae.
Among the novel genes identified was Tc-Rbm24, which is required for muscle formation in T. castaneum. This gene has orthologs in vertebrates, but surprisingly none in Drosophila. Other novel genes discovered involve the production of defensive chemicals, a biological process not present in Drosophila. These examples highlight the importance of phenotypic screens in various insect model systems.
Eupheria provides this featured dsRNA library, or other custom T. castaneum (= iB-FLEX) libraries for further phenotypic screens. In addition, individual customized iB-RNA silencers can be ordered to focus on the functions of single genes.
T. castaneum is not your model system? Eupheria can produce custom dsRNA silencers for any insect species for efficient identification of novel gene functions.
@Foto Tribolium castaneum: Gregor Bucher