The advent of genome editing has significantly altered genetic research, including research using the zebrafish model. To better understand the selectivity of the commonly used CRISPR/Cas9 system, we investigated single base pair mismatches in target sites and examined how they affect genome editing in the zebrafish model. Using two different zebrafish strains that have been deep sequenced, CRISPR/Cas9 target sites containing polymorphisms between the two strains were identified. These strains were crossed (creating heterozygotes at polymorphic sites) and CRISPR/Cas9 complexes that perfectly complement one strain injected. Sequencing of targeted sites showed biased, allele-specific editing for the perfectly complementary sequence in the majority of cases (14/19). To test utility, we examined whether phenotypes generated by F0 injection could be internally controlled with such polymorphisms. Targeting of genes bmp7a and chordin showed reduction in the frequency of phenotypes in injected “heterozygotes” compared with injecting the strain with perfect complementarity. Next, injecting CRISPR/Cas9 complexes targeting two separate sites created deletions, but deletions were biased to selected chromosomes when one CRISPR/Cas9 target contains a polymorphism. Finally, integration of loxP sequences occurred preferential in alleles with perfect complementarity. These experiments demonstrate that SNPs present throughout the genome can be utilised to increase the efficiency of in cis genome editing using CRISPR/Cas9 in the zebrafish model.
- Received July 28, 2016.
- Accepted November 22, 2016.
- © 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd
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