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Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Identify the Best-Performing Cas Nuclease

November 14, 2018

CRISPR-mediated genome editing has been applied in several plants using several types of Cas nucleases. However, these nucleases have not been directly compared with each other to determine which enzyme is best performing in terms of efficiency and specificity. Thus, researcher Nicola Patron from Earlham Institute in the United Kingdom and colleagues take the liberty in performing this comparison, as they report their findings in bioRxiv.

Using protoplasts from Arabidopsis and tobacco, identical targets, and similar experimental conditions, the researchers compared Cas9 enzymes from Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes and Cas12a enzymes from Acidaminococcus sp. and Lachnospiraceae bacterium. Results showed varied efficiencies of the enzymes in targeted mutagenesis, with Cas9 from S. aureus being the most efficient at inducing mutations. They also found correlation between nucleotide content and efficiency of the enzymes, concluding that 'high-fidelity' variants of Cas9 reduce off-target mutations in plants. 

For more information, read the article in bioRxiv.