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Table 1 Comparison of ZFN, TALEN and CRISPR approaches

From: Functional genetics for all: engineered nucleases, CRISPR and the gene editing revolution

  ZFN TALEN CRISPR
Mode of action DNA break targeted by protein-DNA recognition DNA break targeted by protein-DNA recognition DNA break targeted by RNA-DNA base complementarity
Nuclease design and assembly Difficult (commercial services expensive) Feasible in most labs but labor intensive Easy (see Table 2)
Success rate of nuclease design a Low High High
Targeting efficiency Variable High with most nucleases High with most guide RNAs
Target range Limited by range and context-dependence of ZF modules Unlimited Limited by PAM sequence (potentially unlimited)
Potential off-target effects Yes Yes Yes
Sensitivity to DNA methylation Not known Sensitive to CpG methylation Not sensitive to CpG methylation
High throughput targeting No Limited Yes
  1. asee [71, 103]. PAM, protospacer adjacent motif; TALEN, TAL effector nuclease; ZFN, zinc-finger nuclease.