A CRISPR view of gene regulation

Curr Opin Syst Biol. 2017 Feb:1:1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.coisb.2016.12.016. Epub 2017 Feb 28.


Due to plummeting costs, whole genome sequencing of patients and cancers will soon become routine medical practice; however, we cannot currently predict how non-coding genotype affects cellular gene expression. Gene regulation research has recently been dominated by observational approaches that correlate chromatin state with regulatory function. These approaches are limited to the available genotypes and cannot scratch the surface of possible sequence combinations, and thus there is a need for perturbation-based approaches to better understand how DNA encodes gene regulatory functions. CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing has revolutionized our ability to alter genome sequence, and CRISPR/Cas9-based assays have already begun to contribute to new paradigms of gene regulation. We discuss the variety of arenas in which current and future CRISPR-based technologies will aid in developing predictive understanding of how genome sequence leads to gene regulatory function.