Contribution of CRISPRable DNA to human complex traits

Ranran Zhai, Chenqing Zheng, Zhijian Yang, Ting Li, Jiantao Chen, Xia Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


CRISPR-Cas is a powerful genome editing tool for various species and human cell lines, widely used in many research areas including studying the mechanisms, targets, and gene therapies of human diseases. Recent developments have even allowed high-throughput genetic screening using the CRISPR system. However, due to the practical and ethical limitations in human gene editing research, little is known about whether CRISPR-editable DNA segments could influence human complex traits or diseases. Here, we investigated the human genomic regions condensed with different CRISPR Cas enzymes' protospacer-adjacent motifs (PAMs). We found that Cas enzymes with GC-rich PAMs could interfere more with the genomic regions that harbor enriched heritability for human complex traits and diseases. The results linked GC content across the genome to the functional genomic elements in the heritability enrichment of human complex traits. We provide a genetic overview of the effects of high-throughput genome editing on human complex traits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1111
JournalCommunications biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2022


  • Humans
  • CRISPR-Cas Systems
  • DNA/genetics
  • Gene Editing/methods
  • Genomics
  • Multifactorial Inheritance


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