DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are major DNA lesions that are constantly formed during physiological processes such as DNA replication, transcription, and recombination, or as a result of exogenous agents such as ionizing radiation, radiomimetic drugs, and genome editing nucleases. Unrepaired DSBs threaten genomic stability by leading to the formation of potentially oncogenic rearrangements such as translocations. In past few years, several methods based on next-generation sequencing (NGS) have been developed to study the genome-wide distribution of DSBs or their conversion to translocation events. We developed Breaks Labeling, Enrichment on Streptavidin, and Sequencing (BLESS), which was the first method for direct labeling of DSBs in situ followed by their genome-wide mapping at nucleotide resolution (Crosetto et al., Nat Methods 10:361-365, 2013). Recently, we have further expanded the quantitative nature, applicability, and scalability of BLESS by developing Breaks Labeling In Situ and Sequencing (BLISS) (Yan et al., Nat Commun 8:15058, 2017). Here, we first present an overview of existing methods for genome-wide localization of DSBs, and then focus on the BLESS and BLISS methods, discussing different assay design options depending on the sample type and application.
Keywords: BLESS; BLISS; DNA double-strand breaks; Genome editing; Genome instability; Next-generation sequencing.