Ins and Outs of Genome Editing

Targeted genome engineering (that is, the modification of the genome at a precise, predetermined locus) is broadly applicable to insect research.

The availability of programmable nucleases is a game changer for those interested in modifying insect genomes for any number of reasons. These programmable nucleases include zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs), transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) and RNA-guided engineered nucleases (RGENs) derived from the bacterial clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)–Cas (CRISPR-associated) system.

How to choose the appropriate technology for your application?

Well, first you should understand each of the available technologies and their inherent characteristics. These nucleases differ in several respects, including their composition, targetable sites, specificities and mutation signatures, among other characteristics. Knowledge of nuclease-specific features, as well as of their pros and cons, is essential for researchers to choose the most appropriate tool for a range of applications.

Kim and Kim provide a good discussion of these systems and their relative merits.


Kim, Hyongbum and Kim, Jin-Soo, A guide to genome engineering with programmable nucleases, Nat Rev Genet 15(5): 321-334, ISSN 1471

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