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CRISPR Abbreviations and Definitions

The latest CRISPR abbreviations and definitions in a single list!
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Whether you’re new to genome editing or an experienced scientist, it can be challenging to keep up with the terminology, definitions, and abbreviations, particularly when it has to do with such rapidly advancing technology as CRISPR.

CRISPR genome editing has revolutionized biological sciences, from medicine to agriculture to industry, making it possible to edit the DNA sequence of almost any living organism. Keeping up with this technology, however, can be overwhelming.

The uses, applications, and techniques of CRISPR seem to expand on a monthly basis, making it necessary to stay on top of the latest CRISPR-related abbreviations. We’re here to make things easier for you! We’ve compiled a handy list of CRISPR abbreviations and definitions to keep on a lab shelf,  desk drawer, or back-pocket cheat sheet!

CRISPR and DNA Related Abbreviations

As promised, here are some abbreviations and definitions you will come across during your CRISPR genome editing studies:

A.s.Acidaminococcus species

Cas – CRISPR-associated (enzyme)

Cpf1 – Another name for Cas12a. Technically, Cpf1 stands for “CRISPR from Prevotella and Francisella 1”

CRISPR – Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats

CRISPRa – CRISPR-mediated gene activation

CRISPRi – CRISPR interference


dCas9 – Dead Cas9 (catalytically dead Cas9)

DSB – Double-strand break (double-strand DNA break)

dsDNADouble-stranded DNA

FACS – Fluorescence-activated cell sorting

FASTA – A file format for DNA and protein sequences (it stands for Fast Alignment and Search Tool-All)


GUIDE-seq – Genome-wide unbiased identification of DSBs evaluated by sequencing

HDR – Homology-directed repair

IFN – Interferon

IVTIn vitro transcription

L.b. – Lachnospiraceae bacterium

NCBI – National Center for Biotechnology Information

NGSNext generation sequencing

NHEJ – Non-homologous end joining

NLS – Nuclear localization sequence

PAM – Protospacer-adjacent motif

PCR – Polymerase chain reaction

RNAi – RNA interference

RNP – Ribonucleoprotein

S.p.Streptococcus pyogenes

sgRNA – Single-guide RNA

ssDNASingle-stranded DNA

ssODN – Single-stranded oligodeoxynucleotide

T7EI – T7 endonuclease I

TALEN – Transcription activator-like effector nuclease

tracrRNA – Transactivating CRISPR RNA

ZFN – Zinc finger nuclease

Download our free CRISPR Basics Handbook

If you’re looking for more helpful CRISPR information and reminders, we’ve got you covered. Just download our free CRISPR Basics Handbook.

It’s all there in this comprehensive, easy-to-digest CRISPR handbook … and much, much more! Even experienced gene editors will discover valuable insights and new techniques in The CRISPR Basics Handbook.

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