The clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)/associated 9 (Cas9) technology has been recently added to the tools allowing efficient and easy DNA targeting, representing a very promising approach to gene engineering. Using the CRISPR/Cas9 system we have driven the integration of exogenous DNA sequences to the X-linked Hprt gene of mouse embryonic stem cells. We show here that a simple fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH)-based strategy allows the detection and the frequency evaluation of non-specific integrations of a given plasmid. FISH analysis revealed that these integrations do not match the software predicted off-target loci. We conclude that the frequency of these CRISPR-mediated off-target DNA cuts is negligible, since, due to the occurrence of spontaneous double-strand breaks, we observed more aspecific plasmid integrations than those corresponding to predicted off-target sites.
- embryonic stem cells