Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


The National Institute of Standards and Technology Genome Editing Consortium addresses the measurements and standards needed to increase confidence and lower the risk of utilizing genome editing technologies in research and commercial products.


  • Access to a neutral forum for addressing pre-competitive needs
  • Participation in the development of experimental benchmarks, guidelines and terminology
  • Access to tools developed by the consortium ahead of public release
  • Institutional representation on consortium steering committee      


  • Annual fee of $20,000 or in-kind support of equivalent value
  • Participants will sign a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement
  • Complete Letter of Interest Form 

Notice of NIST’s Genome Editing Consortium Establishment
Notice of NIST’s Genome Editing Consortium Extension


Genome editing technologies

Targeted genome editing, a method used to alter the DNA of living cells at desired locations, is poised to revolutionize science and medicine. To fight diseases, novel genome edited therapeutics, including those for use in regenerative medicine and infectious diseases, are being developed. Many commercial applications including agriculture and chemical production, are also leveraging this technology. Whether genome editing will be used in healthcare, agriculture or basic research, robust quantitative measurements are needed to enable high confidence characterization of DNA alterations. NIST has brought together experts across the genome editing field including stakeholders in industry, academia and government to assess their measurement needs. These discussions have identified common pre-competitive measurements and standards needed to establish greater confidence in the characterization of genome editing outputs. The NIST-led Genome Editing Consortium has been established to address these needs. 


  • Evaluate genome editing assay pipelines
  • Develop benchmark materials
  • Generate benchmark data
  • Develop suggested minimal information reporting for public studies
  • Generate a common lexicon for genome editing studies                                        


Three working groups with the following responsibilities:

Working Group 1: Specificity Measurements

  • Design, generate, and evaluate a set of purified DNA spike-in control materials that can be used to mimic both induced on-target and off-target variants at known frequencies in a background of human genomic DNA. The DNA spike-in control materials will be used as a benchmark for validation of next-generation sequencing (NGS) pipelines and other platforms intended to identify induced genome editing events.
  • Design and conduct controlled evaluations of existing assays for quantifying on- and off-target genome editing, with a robust and optimal experimental design aimed at assessing the sources of variability, repeatability, and reproducibility within an assay.

Working Group 2: Data and Metadata

  1. Identify community norms for data formats and tools for benchmarking data analysis including in silico and experimental data sets.
  2. Determine the type of metadata that would be needed to be shared, housed, and interrogated from genome editing experiments.

Working Group 3: Lexicon

  1. Identify terms and related definitions to form a common genome editing community lexicon.



    Gene editing working group


      • Shared genome editing physical benchmark materials for assay validation 
      • Community norms for minimum data reporting and tools for supporting data analysis
      • Improved understanding of and confidence in detecting and quantifying on- and off-target genome editing
      • Harmonized genome editing lexicon


      • Convenes industry, academia, and government to identify and address measurement and standards needs across the genome editing field
      • Enables members to work with NIST to develop measurement solutions and standards
      • Leverages NIST expertise in measurement science, standards development, reference materials, technology development, and basic research
      • Collaborates with related programs at other federal agencies 

      WHY NIST

      • Cross-disciplinary expertise in engineering, and the physical, information, chemical, and biological sciences
      • As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, NIST does not impose standards; standards are accepted by consensus
      • Neutral convener for industry consortia, standards development organizations, federal labs, universities, public workshops, and interlaboratory comparability testing


          Major Accomplishments

          65 participants at the 2016 NIST Genome Editing Standards Workshop identified pre-competitive standards and measurements needed to establish greater confidence in characterization of genome editing outputs. 

          Genome Editing Standards Workshop Report




          Created June 30, 2017, Updated June 9, 2022