The Drosophila gene disruption project: progress using transposons with distinctive site specificities

Genetics. 2011 Jul;188(3):731-43. doi: 10.1534/genetics.111.126995. Epub 2011 Apr 21.


The Drosophila Gene Disruption Project (GDP) has created a public collection of mutant strains containing single transposon insertions associated with different genes. These strains often disrupt gene function directly, allow production of new alleles, and have many other applications for analyzing gene function. Here we describe the addition of ∼7600 new strains, which were selected from >140,000 additional P or piggyBac element integrations and 12,500 newly generated insertions of the Minos transposon. These additions nearly double the size of the collection and increase the number of tagged genes to at least 9440, approximately two-thirds of all annotated protein-coding genes. We also compare the site specificity of the three major transposons used in the project. All three elements insert only rarely within many Polycomb-regulated regions, a property that may contribute to the origin of "transposon-free regions" (TFRs) in metazoan genomes. Within other genomic regions, Minos transposes essentially at random, whereas P or piggyBac elements display distinctive hotspots and coldspots. P elements, as previously shown, have a strong preference for promoters. In contrast, piggyBac site selectivity suggests that it has evolved to reduce deleterious and increase adaptive changes in host gene expression. The propensity of Minos to integrate broadly makes possible a hybrid finishing strategy for the project that will bring >95% of Drosophila genes under experimental control within their native genomic contexts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • DNA Transposable Elements*
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Gene Expression
  • Genes, Insect*
  • Genome, Insect
  • Models, Genetic
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional / methods*
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Drosophila Proteins