A simple genotyping method to detect small CRISPR-Cas9 induced indels by agarose gel electrophoresis

Academic Article


  • CRISPR gene editing creates indels in targeted genes that are detected by genotyping. Separating PCR products generated from wild-type versus mutant alleles with small indels based on size is beyond the resolution capacity of regular agarose gel electrophoresis. To overcome this limitation, we developed a simple genotyping method that exploits the differential electrophoretic mobility of homoduplex versus heteroduplex DNA hybrids in high concentration agarose gels. First, the CRISPR target region is PCR amplified and homo- and hetero-duplexed amplicons formed during the last annealing cycle are separated by 4–6% agarose gel electrophoresis. WT/mutant heteroduplexes migrate more slowly and are distinguished from WT or mutant homoduplexes. Heterozygous alleles are immediately identified as they produce two distinct bands, while homozygous wild-type or mutant alleles yield a single band. To discriminate the latter, equal amounts of PCR products of homozygous samples are mixed with wild-type control samples, subjected to one denaturation/renaturation cycle and products are electrophoresed again. Samples from homozygous mutant alleles now produce two bands, while those from wild-type alleles yield single bands. This method is simple, fast and inexpensive and can identify indels >2 bp. in size in founder pups and genotype offspring in established transgenic mice colonies.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Scientific Reports  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Bhattacharya D; Van Meir EG
  • Volume

  • 9
  • Issue

  • 1