We present CLADES (Cell Lineage Access Driven by an Edition Sequence), a technology for cell lineage studies based on CRISPR/Cas9. CLADES relies on a system of genetic switches to activate and inactivate reporter genes in a pre-determined order. Targeting CLADES to progenitor cells allows the progeny to inherit a sequential cascade of reporters, coupling birth order with reporter expression. This gives us temporal resolution of lineage development that can be used to deconstruct an extended cell lineage by tracking the reporters expressed in the progeny. When targeted to the germ line, the same cascade progresses across animal generations, marking each generation with the corresponding combination of reporters. CLADES thus offers an innovative strategy for making programmable cascades of genes that can be used for genetic manipulation or to record serial biological events.
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