23 March 2018

New European research network to improve efficiency of genome editing


The new EU-funded IMGENE (Improving CRISPR genome editing) consortium wants to improve genome editing for application in research and therapy

CRISPR genome editing is based on artificial “DNA scissors” which cut the genomic DNA only at one specific location. This can result either in an error prone repair and a gene “knockout” or in a defined genetic alteration, for example the repair of a defective gene of a patient. Unfortunately, error prone repair is much more efficient than the repair introducing a defined genetic alteration, which is a severe limitation for the application of CRISPR genome editing in research and therapy.

The new EU-funded consortium IMGENE (Improving CRISPR genome editing) now addresses this problem and tries by multiple approaches to increase the efficiency of defined repair of CRISPR induced DNA breaks. For the next 3 years, 8 PhD students will work in a collaborative research network towards this ambitious goal at 7 different European institutions including one pharmaceutical company. Importantly, one of the PhD students will investigate exclusively the ethical issues linked to facilitated genome editing, in particular with respects to animals. Two companies, MilliporeSigma and Taconic, and the patient organization GeneticAlliance are complementing our team as partners, providing important input to CRISPR genome editing technology and to its application in animals and patients.

We hope to come up with an improved protocol for CRISPR genome editing that will further promote the application of this exciting technology in biomedical research and therapy of patients with genetic diseases, Prof. Cord Herbert Brakebusch, coordinator of the IMGENE consortium

More information

Continuous information about the about what is happening in the IMGENE consortium and in the area of CRISPR genome editing, as well as about the IMGENE participants is available at http://imgene.ku.dk.