Nucleic acids delivery methods for genome editing in zygotes and embryos: The old, the new, and the old-new

Masahiro Sato, Masato Ohtsuka, Satoshi Watanabe, Channabasavaiah B. Gurumurthy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


In the recent years, sequence-specific nucleases such as ZFNs, TALENs, and CRISPR/Cas9 have revolutionzed the fields of animal genome editing and transgenesis. However, these new techniques require microinjection to deliver nucleic acids into embryos to generate gene-modified animals. Microinjection is a delicate procedure that requires sophisticated equipment and highly trained and experienced technicians. Though over a dozen alternate approaches for nucleic acid delivery into embryos were attempted during the pre-CRISPR era, none of them became routinely used as microinjection. The addition of CRISPR/Cas9 to the genome editing toolbox has propelled the search for novel delivery approaches that can obviate the need for microinjection. Indeed, some groups have recently developed electroporation-based methods that have the potential to radically change animal transgenesis. This review provides an overview of the old and new delivery methods, and discusses various strategies that were attempted during the last three decades. In addition, several of the methods are re-evaluated with respect to their suitability to deliver genome editing components, particularly CRISPR/Cas9, to embryos. Reviewers: Drs. Eugene Koonin and Haruhiko Siomi.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16
JournalBiology direct
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016


  • CRISPR/Cas
  • Genome editing
  • Mcroinjection
  • Nucleic acids delivery
  • Pronuclaer injection
  • Transgenic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Applied Mathematics


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