Crop Biotech Update

New Software Enables Sensitive and Customized Off-target Detection for CRISPR-Cas9

July 31, 2019

A new sensitive and personalized off-target detection method was developed for CRISPR-Cas9 by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation researchers. According to their report in BMC Biotechnology, VARiant-aware detection and SCoring of Off-Targets (VARSCOT) can find 40 to 70% more experimentally verified off-targets compared to other popular software tools.

VARSCOT uses a supplied file in variant call format (VCF) to produce a variant genome which is searched alongside the reference genome to identify variant off-targets. To test VARSCOT's ability to predict unique off-targets, the team used VARSCOT to compare the predicted off-targets of 100 gRNAs across three individuals of the 1000 genomes project.

VARSCOT allows researchers to consider genomic variation when developing individual or population-wide targeting strategies.

Read more from BMC Biotechnology.