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May 20, 2018
Genome modification in budding yeast has been extremely successful largely due to its highly efficient homology-directed DNA repair machinery. Several methods for modifying the yeast genome have previously been described, many of them involving at least two-steps: insertion of a selectable marker and substitution of that marker for the intended modification. Here, we describe a CRISPR-Cas9 mediated genome editing protocol for modifying any yeast gene of interest (either essential or nonessential) in a single-step transformation without any selectable marker. In this system, the Cas9 nuclease creates a double-stranded break at the locus of choice, which is typically lethal in yeast cells regardless of the essentiality of the targeted locus due to inefficient non-homologous end-joining repair. This lethality results in efficient repair via homologous recombination using a repair template derived from PCR. In cases involving essential genes, the necessity of editing the genomic lesion with a functional allele serves as an additional layer of selection. As a motivating example, we describe the use of this strategy in the replacement of HEM2, an essential yeast gene, with its corresponding human ortholog ALAD.

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