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Table 3 Comparison between the three main genome-editing tools

From: New insights on CRISPR/Cas9-based therapy for breast Cancer

  ZFN TALEN CRISPR
Nature Engineered protein to target specific DNA sequences Engineered protein to target specific DNA sequences Short sequence of RNA that can target specific DNA sequences
Target/sensitivity Protein–DNA interaction, less sensitive Protein–DNA interaction, less sensitive RNA–DNA interactions, highly sensitive
Size of recognized target 18–36 nt 30–40 nt 22 nt
Off targeting High Moderate Low
Efficiency Moderate Moderate High
Nuclease – D/M FokI – dimer FokI – dimer Cas9 – monomer
Mode of action For ZFN to work, it requires two sets to hybridize each to each DNA strand around the target sequence For TALEN to work, it requires two sets to hybridize each to each DNA strand around the target sequence In the presence of gRNA, Cas9 can reach the target DNA sequence and generate double strand breaks.
Cytotoxicity Moderate Low Low
Multiple targets Difficult Difficult Doable
Cost/benefits High cost and time consuming High cost and time consuming Low cost and less time needed