Genome editing with CRISPR-Cas nucleases, base editors, transposases and prime editors

Nat Biotechnol. 2020 Jul;38(7):824-844. doi: 10.1038/s41587-020-0561-9. Epub 2020 Jun 22.


The development of new CRISPR-Cas genome editing tools continues to drive major advances in the life sciences. Four classes of CRISPR-Cas-derived genome editing agents-nucleases, base editors, transposases/recombinases and prime editors-are currently available for modifying genomes in experimental systems. Some of these agents have also moved rapidly into the clinic. Each tool comes with its own capabilities and limitations, and major efforts have broadened their editing capabilities, expanded their targeting scope and improved editing specificity. We analyze key considerations when choosing genome editing agents and identify opportunities for future improvements and applications in basic research and therapeutics.

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

  • CRISPR-Cas Systems / genetics*
  • DNA Breaks, Double-Stranded
  • Endonucleases / genetics
  • Gene Editing* / methods
  • Genome / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Recombinases / genetics
  • Transposases / genetics


  • Recombinases
  • Transposases
  • Endonucleases