ZFN-mediated gene integration allows placement of exogenous genetic sequences precisely into user-specified sites in the genome with high-efficiency. This newfound ability will not only lead to a new generation of functional genomics studies, but it will have great impact in the drug discovery world as it will allow the creation of new cell lines containing fusion tags or reporters that can be used for more efficient cell-based screening.
In order to gain acceptance as a robust methodology, any means of targeted gene integration should occur at a frequency high enough to obviate the need for time-consuming selection of cells carrying the desired gene.
Indeed, using the ZFN methodology, targeted gene-integration frequencies of 15% and 6% have been observed, respectively, for insertion of a 12 bp tag and an 8 kb antibody expression cassette at a specific location in human cells, without using selection for desired recombinants.
In 2007, Sigma-Aldrich formed a partnership with Sangamo Biosciences to make ZFN technology available to research scientists through its CompoZr™ line of products and services.
The CompoZr custom ZFN offering, launched recently, supplies partners with zinc finger nucleases that have been validated to target and edit customer-defined genes of interest.
Future CompoZr products based on ZFN technology, available in 2009, will include ZFNs targeting popular genes, gene families, and pathways.