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High fidelity CRISPR/Cas9 increases precise monoallelic and biallelic editing events in primordial germ cells

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Original languageEnglish
Article number15126
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2018


Primordial germ cells (PGCs), the embryonic precursors of the sperm and egg, are used for the introduction of genetic modifications into avian genome. Introduction of small defined sequences using genome editing has not been demonstrated in bird species. Here, we compared oligonucleotide-mediated HDR using wild type SpCas9 (SpCas9-WT) and high fidelity SpCas9-HF1 in PGCs and show that many loci in chicken PGCs can be precise edited using donors containing CRISPR/Cas9-blocking mutations positioned in the protospacer
adjacent motif (PAM). However, targeting was more efficient using SpCas9-HF1 whenmutations were introduced only into the gRNA target sequence. We subsequently employedan eGFP-to-BFP conversion assay, to directly compare HDR mediated by SpCas9-WT andSpCas9-HF1 and discovered that SpCas9-HF1 increases HDR while reducing INDEL formation. Furthermore, SpCas9-HF1 increases the frequency of single allele editing in comparison to SpCas9-WT. We used SpCas9-HF1 to demonstrate the introduction of monoallelic and biallelic point mutations into the FGF20 gene and generate clonal populations of edited PGCs with defined homozygous and heterozygous genotypes. Our results demonstrate the use of oligonucleotide donors and high fidelity CRISPR/Cas9 variants to perform precise genome editing with high efficiency in PGCs.

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