Rxivist logo

Applications of genome editing ultimately depend on DNA repair triggered by targeted double-strand breaks (DSBs). However, repair mechanisms in human cells remain poorly understood and vary across different cell types. Here we report that DSBs selectively induced on a mutant allele in heterozygous human embryos are repaired by gene conversion using an intact wildtype homolog as a template in up to 40% of targeted embryos. We also show that targeting of homozygous loci facilitates an interplay of non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) and gene conversion and results in embryos which carry identical indel mutations on both loci. Additionally, conversion tracks may expand bidirectionally well beyond the target region leading to an extensive loss of heterozygosity (LOH). Our study demonstrates that gene conversion and NHEJ are two major DNA DSB repair mechanisms in preimplantation human embryos. While gene conversion could be applicable for gene correction, extensive LOH presents a serious safety concern. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

Download data

  • Downloaded 2,210 times
  • Download rankings, all-time:
    • Site-wide: 5,677
    • In genetics: 280
  • Year to date:
    • Site-wide: 5,110
  • Since beginning of last month:
    • Site-wide: 9,130

Altmetric data

Downloads over time

Distribution of downloads per paper, site-wide


Sign up for the Rxivist weekly newsletter! (Click here for more details.)