CRISPR/Cas12a is a single effector nuclease that, like CRISPR/Cas9, has been harnessed for genome editing based on its ability to generate targeted DNA double strand breaks (DSBs). Unlike the blunt-ended DSB generated by Cas9, Cas12a generates stickyended DSB that could potentially aid precise genome editing, but this unique feature has thus far been underutilized. In the current study, we found that a short double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) repair template containing a sticky end that matched one of the Cas12agenerated DSB ends and a homologous arm sharing homology with the genomic region adjacent to the other end of the DSB enabled precise repair of the DSB and introduced a desired nucleotide substitution. We termed this strategy ‘Ligation-Assisted Homologous Recombination’ (LAHR). Compared to the single-stranded oligo deoxyribonucleotide (ssODN)- mediated homology directed repair (HDR), LAHR yields relatively high editing efficiency as demonstrated for both a reporter gene and endogenous genes. We found that both HDR and microhomologymediated end joining (MMEJ) mechanisms are involved in the LAHR process. Our LAHR genome editing strategy, extends the repertoire of genome editing technologies and provides a broader understanding of the type and role of DNA repair mechanisms involved in genome editing.

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