Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • News & Views
  • Published:

Genome editing

The domestication of Cas9

The enzyme Cas9 is used in genome editing to cut selected DNA sequences, but it also creates breaks at off-target sites. Protein engineering has now been used to make Cas9 enzymes that have minimal off-target effects. See Article p.490

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: Taming a wild enzyme.


  1. See all news & views


  1. Kleinstiver, B. P. et al. Nature 529, 490–495 (2016).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Slaymaker, I. M. et al. Science 351, 84–88 (2016).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Carroll, D. Annu. Rev. Biochem. 83, 409–439 (2014).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Doudna, J. A. & Charpentier, E. Science 346, 1258096 (2014).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Urnov, F. D., Rebar, E. J., Holmes, M. C., Zhang, H. S. & Gregory, P. D. Nature Rev. Genet. 11, 636–646 (2010).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Bolukbasi, M. F., Gupta, A. & Wolfe, S. A. Nature Methods 13, 41–50 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Tsai, S. Q. et al. Nature Biotechnol. 33, 187–197 (2015).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Jiang, F. & Doudna, J. A. Curr. Opin. Struct. Biol. 30, 100–111 (2015).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Pavletich, N. P. & Pabo, C. O. Science 252, 809–817 (1991).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Shalem, O., Sanjana, N. E. & Zhang, F. Nature Rev. Genet. 16, 299–311 (2015).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Tebas, P. et al. N. Engl. J. Med. 370, 901–910 (2014).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Sharma, R. et al. Blood 126, 1777–1784 (2015).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Fyodor Urnov.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The author declares competing financial interests: F.U. is a full-time employee of Sangamo BioSciences, Inc.

Related links

Related links

Related links in Nature Research

Biotechnology: Rewriting a genome

Microbiology: Bacteria get vaccinated

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Urnov, F. The domestication of Cas9. Nature 529, 468–469 (2016).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing: Translational Research

Sign up for the Nature Briefing: Translational Research newsletter — top stories in biotechnology, drug discovery and pharma.

Get what matters in translational research, free to your inbox weekly. Sign up for Nature Briefing: Translational Research