Gene targeting can be achieved by precise genetic modifications through homology-directed repair (HDR) after DNA breaks introduced by genome editing tools such as CRISPR/Cas9 system. The most common form of HDR is homologous recombination (HR). Binding to the DNA breaks by HR factors is thought to compete with non-homologous end joining (NHEJ), an alternative DNA repair pathway. Here, we knocked out the factors in NHEJ by CRISPR/Cas9 system in silkworm cells, so that increased the activities of HR up to 7-fold. Also efficient HR-mediated genome editing events occurred between the chromosomal BmTUDOR-SN gene and donor DNA sequences with an EGFP gene in the middle of two homologous arms for the target gene. Utilizing the NHEJ-deficient silkworm cells, we found that homologous arms as short as 100 bp in donor DNA could be designed to perform precise genome editing. These studies should greatly accelerate investigations into genome editing of silkworm.
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