Student Author(s)

Zachary Kennedy

Academic Program


UMMS Affiliation

RNA Therapeutics Institute; Program in Molecular Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Bioinformatics | Cancer Biology | Computational Biology | Genomics | Molecular Genetics


The cancer genome is highly complex, with hundreds of point mutations, translocations, and chromosome gains and losses per tumor. To understand the effects of these alterations, precise models are needed. Traditional approaches to the construction of mouse models are time-consuming and laborious, requiring manipulation of embryonic stem cells and multiple steps. The recent development of the clustered regularly interspersed short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-Cas9 system, a powerful genome-editing tool for efficient and precise genome engineering in cultured mammalian cells and animals, is transforming mouse-model generation. Here, we review how CRISPR-Cas9 has been used to create germline and somatic mouse models with point mutations, deletions and complex chromosomal rearrangements. We highlight the progress and challenges of such approaches, and how these models can be used to understand the evolution and progression of individual tumors and identify new strategies for cancer treatment. The generation of precision cancer mouse models through genome editing will provide a rapid avenue for functional cancer genomics and pave the way for precision cancer medicine.


cancer, genome editing, genome engineering, mouse models, CRISPR-Cas9

Rights and Permissions

© 2015 Mou et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

DOI of Published Version



Mou H, Kennedy Z, Anderson DG, Yin H, Xue W. Precision cancer mouse models through genome editing with CRISPR-Cas9. Genome Med. 2015 Jun 9;7(1):53. doi: 10.1186/s13073-015-0178-7. eCollection 2015. Review. PubMed PMID: 26060510; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4460969. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Genome Medicine

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.