CRISPR is a remarkable new technology that is revolutionizing the way scientists conduct biological research. However, as is common with emerging technologies, working with CRISPR also presents unique challenges. Here are some of the ways BenchSci’s Experimental Success Platform helps scientists overcome these challenges to design more successful CRISPR experiments and accelerate their research.

Find appropriate gRNA sequences quickly and confidently

One of the challenges of working with CRISPR is that gRNAs are sequence-based reagents, which invariably adds complexity to an experiment. The gRNA sequence needs to match the sequence of the target, which differs depending on the species, disease, and mutation of interest. 

Since scientists usually design gRNA sequences for their experiments themselves rather than look for premade products, the BenchSci platform handles gRNA-related queries a bit differently. In addition to the usual product page, searches for gRNA and other sequence-based reagents also include a “sequence page,” which provides information from multiple publications on every experiment the sequence was used in, as well as related target information and figures. 

“Our technology gives scientists an unbiased way to quickly and confidently select the appropriate gRNA sequence for their specific experimental context.” 

-Cindy Law, Senior Scientific Associate at BenchSci

Match gRNA sequences to Cas nuclease proteins

Another reason CRISPR experiments are so complex is the multiple components they require. In addition to designing a gRNA sequence, scientists also need to pair it with the appropriate Cas nuclease protein. Considering different Cas nuclease proteins come in different formats, this can be quite time-consuming, and getting it right is crucial for the experiment to succeed. 

When a scientist reaches a results page on BenchSci, in addition to the reagent they searched, they will also see information on other reagents that appear in the same figure—and thus the same experiment. So, when a scientist searches the platform for a gRNA reagent, included in their results will be Cas nuclease proteins that were used in conjunction with that gRNA reagent, saving the time it would take to find this information by searching papers manually.

We’ve also added Cas compatibility information—as provided by our vendors—to gRNA specs on the platform, allowing scientists to see which Cas nuclease proteins can be used with their specific gRNA reagent. And, though Cas nucleases are technically recombinant proteins, we’ve added a reagent subtype for CRISPR reagents to make them even easier to find. 

Leverage figure usage data for more insights

When selecting a gRNA sequence and Cas nuclease protein for an experiment, scientists have to take the nature of the model system they are using into careful consideration. Which sequence/protein combination will be effective is highly dependent on variables such as cell line, cell type, and in vivo system.

On BenchSci, scientists can leverage figure usage data such as organism tested, tissue used, cell type used, and cell line used to narrow in on which gRNA reagents and Cas nuclease proteins are proven to be effective in which experimental contexts. 

“With figure usage data at their fingertips, scientists can be even more confident in their gRNA and Cas nuclease selections.”

-Cindy Law, Senior Scientific Associate at BenchSci

Keep up with rapidly evolving CRISPR technology

CRISPR is still a very new technology and is constantly evolving as scientists find new ways to apply it to their research. This in itself can present challenges, because the newer a technique is, the less data there is available on it and the harder that data is to find. 

The BenchSci platform is currently up to date with all of the latest CRISPR applications, including knockout, interference, knockin, activation, screen, methylation, demethylation, labeling, enChIP, and RNA targeting. Our technology empowers scientists with a reliable resource for this type of information where one didn’t really exist before. 

 

Want to learn more about the inventors of CRISPR? Read about Nobel laureates Dr. Jennifer Doudna and Dr. Emmanuelle Carteptier in our blog post, Seven Women that Changed the World with their Contributions to STEM. And subscribe to our blog for all the latest BenchSci news and updates.

Written By:
Claudia Hung

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