Journal article

CRISPR base editing applications for identifying cancer-driving mutations

Martin Pal, Marco J Herold



CRISPR base editing technology is a promising genome editing tool as (i) it does not require a DNA template to introduce mutations and (ii) it avoids creating DNA double-strand breaks, which can lead to unintended chromosomal alterations or elicit an unwanted DNA damage response. Given many cancers originate from point mutations in cancer-driving genes, the application of base editing for either modelling tumour development, therapeutic editing, or functional screening is of great promise. In this review, we summarise current DNA base editing technologies and will discuss recent advancements and existing hurdles for its usage in cancer research.


Awarded by Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)

Awarded by Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America (LLS SCOR)

Awarded by Cancer Council of Victoria

Funding Acknowledgements

We thank all of our current and past colleagues at WEHI. Figures in this manuscript have been generated with images adapted from the Smart Servier Medical Art database ( under the free CC BY 3.0 license. Our work was supported by grants and fellowships from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) (Project Grants 1186575 and 1145728, 1143105, 1159658 and Fellowship 1156095 to M.J.H.), the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America (LLS SCOR 7015-18 M.J.H.), the Cancer Council of Victoria (project grant 1147328 and Venture Grant to M.J.H.), the Australian Phenomics Network (to M.P. and M.J.H.). This work was made possible through Victorian State Government Operational Infrastructure Support and Australian Government National Health and Medical Research Council Independent Research Institutes Infrastructure Support Scheme.