High-throughput genetic screens interfering with gene expression are invaluable tools to identify gene function and phenotype-to-genotype interactions. Implementing such screens in the laboratory is challenging, and the choice between currently available technologies based on RNAi and CRISPR/Cas9 (CRISPR-associated protein 9) is not trivial. Identifying reliable candidate hits requires a streamlined experimental setup adjusted to the specific biological question. Here, we provide a critical assessment of the various RNAi/CRISPR approaches to pooled screens and discuss their advantages and pitfalls. We specify a set of best practices for key parameters enabling a reproducible screen and provide a detailed overview of analysis methods and repositories for identifying the best candidate gene hits.
Keywords: CRISPR/Cas9; CRISPRa; CRISPRi; RNAi; essential genes; library pooled screens.
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