Berkeley Lab offers CRAGE kit for genome engineering

By Andre Rickard, The Science Advisory Board contributing writer

March 30, 2022 -- Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is offering a trial kit for its chassis-independent, recombinase-assisted, genome engineering (CRAGE) tool.

CRAGE enables its users to chromosomally integrate and express genes or pathways in a variety of microbes. The process efficiently and stably transfers and integrates biosynthetic pathway-encoding gene clusters of up to 60 kb into a target genome, according to a Berkeley release.

This technology’s function is to create stable microbial strains that can be used in a variety of industrial functions at a large scale. Berkeley said that traditional plasmid-based approaches achieve this but are much slower, inefficient, and less stable, increasing costs associated with the process, making the scale-up of such processes even more challenging.

CRAGE eliminates the use of plasmids and enables genome engineering that is as simple or simpler to use than traditional systems, according to Berkeley Lab.

The tool begins with the insertion of a “landing pad” into the genome, which can then be used as a site for delivery of individual genes, whole pathways, other genome-editing tools, and reporters. What’s more, the process is easily scalable, Berkeley said.

Furthermore, CRAGE has the capability for use in diverse microbes, allowing for applications to various areas including microbiome engineering, antibacterial drug development, and soil optimization to encourage plant growth, according to the release.

For information on licensing the technology, contact ipo@lbl.gov.

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