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Generating genetically modified mice using CRISPR/Cas-mediated genome engineering

Nature Protocols volume 9, pages 19561968 (2014) | Download Citation


Mice with specific gene modifications are valuable tools for studying development and disease. Traditional gene targeting in mice using embryonic stem (ES) cells, although suitable for generating sophisticated genetic modifications in endogenous genes, is complex and time-consuming. We have recently described CRISPR/Cas-mediated genome engineering for the generation of mice carrying mutations in multiple genes, endogenous reporters, conditional alleles or defined deletions. Here we provide a detailed protocol for embryo manipulation by piezo-driven injection of nucleic acids into the cytoplasm to create gene-modified mice. Beginning with target design, the generation of gene-modified mice can be achieved in as little as 4 weeks. We also describe the application of the CRISPR/Cas technology for the simultaneous editing of multiple genes (five genes or more) after a single transfection of ES cells. The principles described in this protocol have already been applied in rats and primates, and they are applicable to sophisticated genome engineering in species in which ES cells are not available.

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This work was supported by US National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants R37-HD045022 and R01-CA084198. This work was also supported by a grant from the Simons Foundation to the Simons Center for the Social Brain at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Author information


  1. Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

    • Hui Yang
    • , Haoyi Wang
    •  & Rudolf Jaenisch
  2. Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

    • Rudolf Jaenisch


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H.Y., H.W. and R.J. wrote the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Rudolf Jaenisch.

Supplementary information


  1. 1.

    Injection of CRISPR/Cas mix into zygotes by piezo-based cytoplasmic injection.

    The zygote is held by holding pipette on the left side and then injected with CRISPR/Cas mix by injection pipette on the right side. All the injection steps are carried out in CB medium (also described in Fig. 4).

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