Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory  
Contact Us | Faculty & Staff Directory

Media Contact

Public Affairs
pubaff@cshl.edu
516-367-8455

  About

Gregory Hannon
Adjunct Professor & HHMI Investigator

Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University,1992
Hannon
Areas of Research:
Growth control in mammalian cells; post-transcriptional gene silencing

View Faculty Page

 

Follow us on

  facebook-icon twitter-icon instagram-icon3 youtube-icon wordpress-icon2
  rss-icon email-icon linkedin-icon flipboard icon

Library of CRISPR targeting sequences increases power and accuracy of the gene-editing method

Cold Spring Harbor, NY — CRISPR, the gene-editing technology that has taken biology by storm, is now more powerful than ever. Scientists have assembled a library of RNA sequences that can be used by researchers to direct the CRISPR-cas9 complex to cut DNA with exquisite, unprecedented precision.

Among other advantages, the new tool greatly increases the likelihood that a CRISPR “cut” (or series of related cuts) will have the functional impact that researchers intend. Disabling or deleting a gene or set of genes is much more certain to succeed fully with the new resource, minimizing the likelihood of “off-target” effects that can diminish the relevance of otherwise carefully planned and executed experiments.

CRISPR-Cas9CRISPR-Cas9 is a reprogrammable DNA cutting machine that is being used to edit genomes in many organisms for research purposes. Its primary component, the Cas9 enzyme (orange), cuts genomic DNA (blue). The enzyme is directed to its target—essentially any sequence along the genome—by hitching it to a strand of “guide” RNA (green) whose sequence is complementary to that of the DNA target. Upon finding and pairing with it, Cas9 snips out the target segment. It can either be deleted or replaced with another DNA sequence (not shown here). A new resource published by Hannon and colleagues provides a library of guide sequences that significantly increases CRISPR's specificity, while limiting off-target effects. The platform also facilitates multiplexing and combinatorial targeting. Image credit: ©2016 Advanced Analytical Technologies, Inc. (click to enlarge)

“We’ve combined a machine learning approach with other strategies to optimize knock-out efficiency,” says Professor Greg Hannon of Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, who led a team that included Drs. Simon Knott and Nicolas Erard. All three performed some of the research while at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) prior to Dr. Hannon’s move to the UK two years ago. Hannon, who is a CSHL adjunct professor, notes that the CRISPR library also facilitates multiplexing of experiments, as well as combinatorial targeting.

The team’s paper introducing the new CRISPR resource appears in Molecular Cell July 20th, and can be obtained here: http://www.cell.com/molecular-cell/home

About Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Founded in 1890, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has shaped contemporary biomedical research and education with programs in cancer, neuroscience, plant biology and quantitative biology. Home to eight Nobel Prize winners, the private, not-for-profit Laboratory employs 1,100 people including 600 scientists, students and technicians. The Meetings & Courses Program annually hosts more than 12,000 scientists. The Laboratory's education arm also includes an academic publishing house, a graduate school and the DNA Learning Center with programs for middle and high school students and teachers. For more information, visit www.cshl.edu

Written by: Peter Tarr, Senior Science Writer | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | 516-367-8455