RNA-Guided Genome Editing

Allen, Sarah Elizabeth; Nowacki, Mariusz (2016). RNA-Guided Genome Editing. In: Witzany, Guenther; Nowacki, Mariusz (eds.) Biocommunication of Ciliates (pp. 35-50). Cham: Springer 10.1007/978-3-319-32211-7_3

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Ciliates have evolved highly complex and intricately controlled pathways to ensure the precise and complete removal of all genomic sequences not required for vegetative growth. At the same time, they retain a reference copy of all their genetic information for future generations. This chapter describes how different ciliates use RNA-mediated DNA comparison processes to form new somatic nuclei from germline nuclei. While these processes vary in their precise mechanisms, they all use RNA to target genomic DNA sequences—either for retention or elimination. They also all consist of more than one individual pathway acting cooperatively—the two subsets of small RNAs in Paramecium and the guide RNAs and Piwi-interacting RNAs in Oxytricha—to ensure a strong belt-and-braces approach to consistent and precise somatic nucleus development. Nonetheless, this genome comparison approach to somatic nucleus development provides an elegant method for trans-generational environmental adaptation. Conceptually, it is easy to imagine how somatic changes that occur during vegetative growth could be transferred to meiotic offspring, while an unaltered germline genome is retained. Further research in this area will have far-reaching implications for the trans-generational adaptation of more distantly related eukaryotes, such as humans.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Cell Biology > Ciliate
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Cell Biology

UniBE Contributor:

Allen, Sarah Elizabeth, Nowacki, Mariusz


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology








Mariusz Nowacki

Date Deposited:

20 Jun 2016 10:22

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:56

Publisher DOI:






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