Expanding the genetic editing tool kit: ZFNs, TALENs, and CRISPR-Cas9

J Clin Invest. 2014 Oct;124(10):4154-61. doi: 10.1172/JCI72992. Epub 2014 Oct 1.


The past decade has been one of rapid innovation in genome-editing technology. The opportunity now exists for investigators to manipulate virtually any gene in a diverse range of cell types and organisms with targeted nucleases designed with sequence-specific DNA-binding domains. The rapid development of the field has allowed for highly efficient, precise, and now cost-effective means by which to generate human and animal models of disease using these technologies. This review will outline the recent development of genome-editing technology, culminating with the use of CRISPR-Cas9 to generate novel mammalian models of disease. While the road to using this same technology for treatment of human disease is long, the pace of innovation over the past five years and early successes in model systems build anticipation for this prospect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Base Sequence
  • CRISPR-Cas Systems*
  • DNA / chemistry*
  • DNA Helicases / metabolism*
  • DNA Repair
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Deoxyribonucleases / metabolism
  • Endonucleases / genetics
  • Genetic Engineering / methods*
  • Genome*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Multimerization
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Zinc Fingers


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • DNA
  • Deoxyribonucleases
  • Endonucleases
  • DNA Helicases