About this Research Topic
The advent of engineered nucleases, especially the CRISPR/Cas9 system, has provided researchers a platform with a simple and accurate technique to modify the genomes of various species. The CRISPR/Cas9 technology has truly showed promise for its uses in the development of animal modeling in human genetic disease research and enhancing the productive and economic traits in animal breeding. In general, the CRISPR/Cas9 system and its modified systems are used to generate a double-strand break (DSB) or single-strand break (nick), which can trigger the DNA repair process to introduce targeted deletions or insertions at loci specific sites in the genome. In addition, the catalytically inactive Cas9 (dCas9) -effector fusion complexes expand the scope of CRISPR applications, such as gene regulation, epigenome editing, and chromatin imaging. Thanks to these advances in engineered nucleases, precise genome editing in animals has been proven to be feasible, compatible for large animals, and continues to advance and positively impact interdisciplinary sciences for basic and applied applications.
Compared to traditional gene editing techniques and methods, CRISPR/Cas9 and complimentary tools based on the CRISPR system can efficiently and precisely manipulate animal genomes to produce gene-edited animals. However, several limitations and challenges for CRISPR/Cas9 implementation in animals still need to be overcome and optimized, including low efficiency in precision editing, minimization of off-target effects, indel noise in the target site, delivery of CRISPR/Cas9 and production of chimeric offspring. Encouragingly, the prime editing technique has been recently reported to efficiently manipulate the animal genome with few byproducts. In addition to Cas9, CRISPR-Cas orthologues and variants were developed to enhance the target accuracy, increase the target range and providing small size nucleases. Contributions to methodology and techniques that address these specific areas of improvement would positively advance the field of gene editing in animals while contributing to humanized disease models and enhancing desirable economic traits.
In this Research Topic, we will focus on the advances in genome editing techniques and their applications in animals which include:
1. Newly developed techniques for precise gene modification in the animal.
2. Novel genetically modified animal models for human disease, regenerative medicine, and agriculture.
3. The optimization of current CRISPR-Cas systems and the exploration of new CRISPR-Cas subclasses.
4. The improvement of HDR-mediated precise DNA editing.
5. Other DNA editing, including base editing and prime editing.
6. Possible strategies to reduce indel noise, mosaicism, and off-target effects in zygote injection.
7. Improvement of delivery of engineered nucleases for in vivo genome editing.
8. Advances in livestock that address important economic traits, improve disease resistance, or enhance transgenic production for biomedical and agricultural applications.
9. Metrics that specifically address current regulation and discussion of gene-edited livestock or byproducts for human use and consumption.
Keywords: Genome editing, CRISPR, Animal model, large animal
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