The NIST Genome Editing Program develops standards, methods, tools, technology, and community norms to advance the reliability of genome editing technology and foster confidence in measurements for the genome editing field.
Genome editing technologies (e.g., CRISPR/Cas systems, meganucleases, TALENS, zinc-finger proteins) have transformed the potential of biosciences and biotechnology by providing precision engineering tools that enable modifications to be made at specified positions within the genetic code of living cells. This rapidly evolving technology area is being adopted to advance many sectors of the bioeconomy including human health (e.g., cell and gene therapies, microbial-based diagnostics and therapeutics), agriculture, engineering/synthetic biology, environment, and biomanufacturing.
Vision: Foster technological innovation and enable quality in measurements to accelerate the translation and commercialization of genome edited products
Goal: Develop measurement tools and standards to increase the confidence of utilizing genome editing technologies in research and commercial products
For genome editing systems to reach their full potential in research and commercial products, new measurement tools, capabilities, and standards must be developed to efficiently implement and assess the performance of these editing technologies, as well as to evaluate the utility of resulting products (e.g., engineered cells) for their intended purposes.
The NIST Genome Editing Program actively supports this growing industry by:
The NIST Genome Editing Consortium is a public-private partnership with genome editing stakeholders to define measurement challenges for utilizing existing measurement capabilities to understand genome editing outcomes and develop shared solutions.
NIST is working closely with technology developers and other federal agencies to apply measurement assurance (including bioinformatics), associated tools, and well-documented protocols to improve reliability and reproducibility of recently developed assays for detecting off-target activity of genome editing molecules.
Project collaborators and assays currently under evaluation:
We are developing measurements and assays that allow users to understand how a particular set of reagents or a technology is working in their own labs.
Genome editing molecules to be introduced into a cell and/or organism can be formulated in various formats including: DNA, short RNA (in vitro transcribed and synthetic with or without modifications), mRNA, and protein. Additionally, there are several options for technologies to physically deliver genome editing molecules into cells and/or organisms. The NIST Genome Editing Program is actively assessing strategies for evaluating the properties, capabilities, and limitations of different genome editing molecule formulations as well as approaches for delivering genome editing molecules into cells.
Genome editing molecule delivery and/or single cell analysis platforms under evaluation:
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