News and views by Blackburn et al., Zebrafish.
We are entering a new era in our ability to modify and edit the genomes of model organisms. Zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs) opened the door to the first custom nuclease-targeted genome engineering in the late 1990s. However, ZFNs remained out of reach for most research labs because of the difficulty of production, high costs, and modest efficacy in many applications. Transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) were built upon a DNA binding system discovered in a group of plant bacterial pathogens and broadened custom nuclease technology, showing significant improvements in both targeting flexibility and efficiency. Perhaps most importantly, TALENs are open source and easy to produce, providing zebrafish laboratories around the world with affordable tools that can be made in-house rapidly, at low cost, and with reliably high activity. Now a new system for targeted genome engineering derived from the CRISPR/Cas system in eubacteria and archaea promises to simplify this process further. Together, these tools will help overcome many of the bottlenecks that have constrained gene targeting in zebrafish, paving the way for advanced genome engineering applications in this model teleost.
Via Amir Taheri Ghahfarokhi