Cas-OFFinder: a fast and versatile algorithm that searches for potential off-target sites of Cas9 RNA-guided endonucleases

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The Type II clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas system is an adaptive immune response in prokaryotes, protecting host cells against invading phages or plasmids by cleaving these foreign DNA species in a targeted manner. CRISPR/Cas-derived RNA-guided engineered nucleases (RGENs) enable genome editing in cultured cells, animals and plants, but are limited by off-target mutations. Here, we present a novel algorithm termed Cas-OFFinder that searches for potential off-target sites in a given genome or user-defined sequences. Unlike other algorithms currently available for identification of RGEN off-target sites, Cas-OFFinder is not limited by the number of mismatches and allows variations in protospacer-adjacent motif sequences recognized by Cas9, the essential protein component in RGENs. Cas-OFFinder is available as a command-line program or accessible via our website.

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