In vivo somatic cell base editing and prime editing

Mol Ther. 2021 Nov 3;29(11):3107-3124. doi: 10.1016/j.ymthe.2021.09.002. Epub 2021 Sep 10.


Recent advances in genome editing technologies have magnified the prospect of single-dose cures for many genetic diseases. For most genetic disorders, precise DNA correction is anticipated to best treat patients. To install desired DNA changes with high precision, our laboratory developed base editors (BEs), which can correct the four most common single-base substitutions, and prime editors, which can install any substitution, insertion, and/or deletion over a stretch of dozens of base pairs. Compared to nuclease-dependent editing approaches that involve double-strand DNA breaks (DSBs) and often result in a large percentage of uncontrolled editing outcomes, such as mixtures of insertions and deletions (indels), larger deletions, and chromosomal rearrangements, base editors and prime editors often offer greater efficiency with fewer byproducts in slowly dividing or non-dividing cells, such as those that make up most of the cells in adult animals. Both viral and non-viral in vivo delivery methods have now been used to deliver base editors and prime editors in animal models, establishing that base editors and prime editors can serve as effective agents for in vivo therapeutic genome editing in animals. This review summarizes examples of in vivo somatic cell (post-natal) base editing and prime editing and prospects for future development.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CRISPR-Associated Protein 9 / metabolism
  • CRISPR-Cas Systems*
  • DNA Breaks, Double-Stranded
  • Gene Editing* / methods
  • Gene Rearrangement
  • Gene Transfer Techniques
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / genetics
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / therapy
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics
  • Humans
  • INDEL Mutation
  • RNA, Guide, Kinetoplastida


  • RNA, Guide
  • CRISPR-Associated Protein 9