CRISPR-Cas9 (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats-CRISPR associated nuclease 9) systems have emerged as versatile and convenient (epi)genome editing tools and have become an important player in medical genetic research. CRISPR-Cas9 and its variants such as catalytically inactivated Cas9 (dead Cas9, dCas9) and scaffold-incorporating single guide sgRNA (scRNA) have been applied in various genomic screen studies. CRISPR screens enable high-throughput interrogation of gene functions in health and diseases. Compared with conventional RNAi screens, CRISPR screens incur less off-target effects and are more versatile in that they can be used in multiple formats such as knockout, knockdown and activation screens, and can target coding and non-coding regions throughout the genome. This powerful screen platform holds the potential of revolutionising functional genomic studies in the near future. Herein, we introduce the mechanisms of (epi)genome editing mediated by CRISPR-Cas9 and its variants, introduce the procedures and applications of CRISPR screen in functional genomics, compare it with conventional screen tools and at last discuss current challenges and opportunities and propose future directions.
- Genetic screening/counselling
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