The next generation of CRISPR-Cas technologies and applications

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2019 Aug;20(8):490-507. doi: 10.1038/s41580-019-0131-5.


The prokaryote-derived CRISPR-Cas genome editing systems have transformed our ability to manipulate, detect, image and annotate specific DNA and RNA sequences in living cells of diverse species. The ease of use and robustness of this technology have revolutionized genome editing for research ranging from fundamental science to translational medicine. Initial successes have inspired efforts to discover new systems for targeting and manipulating nucleic acids, including those from Cas9, Cas12, Cascade and Cas13 orthologues. Genome editing by CRISPR-Cas can utilize non-homologous end joining and homology-directed repair for DNA repair, as well as single-base editing enzymes. In addition to targeting DNA, CRISPR-Cas-based RNA-targeting tools are being developed for research, medicine and diagnostics. Nuclease-inactive and RNA-targeting Cas proteins have been fused to a plethora of effector proteins to regulate gene expression, epigenetic modifications and chromatin interactions. Collectively, the new advances are considerably improving our understanding of biological processes and are propelling CRISPR-Cas-based tools towards clinical use in gene and cell therapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CRISPR-Cas Systems*
  • Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats*
  • Endonucleases* / genetics
  • Endonucleases* / metabolism
  • Gene Editing*
  • Genetic Therapy*
  • Humans
  • RNA, Guide, CRISPR-Cas Systems* / genetics
  • RNA, Guide, CRISPR-Cas Systems* / metabolism


  • RNA, Guide, CRISPR-Cas Systems
  • Endonucleases