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A single blastocyst assay optimized for detecting CRISPR/Cas9 system-induced indel mutations in mice

Takayuki Sakurai1*, Satoshi Watanabe2, Akiko Kamiyoshi1, Masahiro Sato3 and Takayuki Shindo1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Cardiovascular Research, Graduate school of Medicine, Shinshu University, 3-1-1 Asahi, Matsumoto, Nagano 390-8621, Japan

2 Animal Genome Research Unit, Division of Animal Science, National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, 2-1-2 Kannondai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8602, Japan

3 Section of Gene Expression Regulation, Frontier Science Research Center, Kagoshima University, 8-35-1 Sakuragaoka, Kagoshima, Kagoshima 890-8544, Japan

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BMC Biotechnology 2014, 14:69  doi:10.1186/1472-6750-14-69

Published: 21 July 2014



Microinjection of clustered regulatory interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9)-related RNA and DNA into fertilized eggs is a novel approach for creating gene-modified mice. Blastocysts obtained just before implantation may be appropriate for testing the fidelity of CRIPSR/Cas9-mediated genome editing because they can be individually handled in vitro and obtained 3 days after microinjection, thus allowing researchers to check mutations rapidly. However, it is not known whether indel mutations caused by the CRISPR/Cas9 system can be reproducibly detected in embryos. In this study, we assessed the detection of CRISPR/Cas9-induced mutations in embryos.


T7 endonuclease I was more effective than Surveyor nuclease for detecting mutations in annealed fragments derived from 2 plasmids, which contained nearly identical sequences. Mouse fertilized eggs were microinjected with CRISPR/Cas9-related RNA/DNA to examine whether non-homologous end joining-mediated knockout and homologous recombination-mediated knockin occurred in the endogenous receptor (G protein-coupled) activity modifying protein 2 (Ramp2) gene. Individual blastocysts were lysed to obtain crude DNA solutions, which were used for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays. T7 endonuclease I-based PCR and sequencing analysis demonstrated that 25–100% of the embryos were knockout embryos and 7–57% of the embryos were knockin embryos. Our results also established that crude DNA from a single blastocyst was an appropriate template for Whole genome amplification and subsequent assessment by PCR and the T7 endonuclease I-based assay.


The single blastocyst-based assay was useful for determining whether CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing worked in murine embryos.

CRISPR/Cas9; Gene targeting; Microinjection; Blastocyst; T7 endonuclease I; Surveyor assay; Crude DNA solution; Whole genome amplification