Systematic comparison of CRISPR/Cas9 and RNAi screens for essential genes

Nat Biotechnol. 2016 Jun;34(6):634-6. doi: 10.1038/nbt.3567. Epub 2016 May 9.


We compared the ability of short hairpin RNA (shRNA) and CRISPR/Cas9 screens to identify essential genes in the human chronic myelogenous leukemia cell line K562. We found that the precision of the two libraries in detecting essential genes was similar and that combining data from both screens improved performance. Notably, results from the two screens showed little correlation, which can be partially explained by the identification of distinct essential biological processes with each technology.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • CRISPR-Associated Proteins / genetics*
  • Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats / genetics*
  • Genes, Essential / genetics*
  • Genetic Testing / methods
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing / methods*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • CRISPR-Associated Proteins
  • RNA, Small Interfering