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No unexpected CRISPR-Cas9 off-target activity revealed by trio sequencing of gene-edited mice

By Vivek Iyer, Katharina Boroviak, Mark Thomas, Brendan Doe, Edward Ryder, David Adams

Posted 09 Feb 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/263129 (published DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1007503)

CRISPR-Cas technologies have transformed genome-editing of experimental organisms and have immense therapeutic potential. Despite significant advances in our understanding of the CRISPR-Cas9 system, concerns remain over the potential for off-target effects. Recent studies have addressed these concerns using whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of gene-edited embryos or animals to search for de novo mutations (DNMs), which may represent candidate changes induced by poor editing fidelity. Critically, these studies used strain-matched but not pedigree-matched controls and thus were unable to reliably distinguish generational or colony-related differences from true DNMs. Here we used a trio design and whole genome sequenced 8 parents and 19 embryos, where 10 of the embryos were mutagenised with well-characterised gRNAs targeting the coat colour Tyrosinase (Tyr) locus. Detailed analyses of these whole genome data allowed us to conclude that if CRISPR mutagenesis were causing SNV or indel off-target mutations in treated embryos, then the number of these mutations is not statistically distinguishable from the background rate of DNMs occurring due to other processes.

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