CRISPR‐Net : A Recurrent Convolutional Network Quantifies CRISPR Off‐Target Activities with Mismatches and Indels

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1903562
Journal / PublicationAdvanced Science
Issue number13
Online published20 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020



The off‐target effects induced by guide RNAs in the CRISPR/Cas9 gene‐editing system have raised substantial concerns in recent years. Many in silico predictive models have been developed for predicting the off‐target activities; however, few are capable of predicting the off‐target activities with insertions or deletions between guide RNA and target DNA sequence pair. In order to fill this gap, a recurrent convolutional network named CRISPR‐Net is developed for scoring the gRNA‐target pairs with mismatches and indels; and a machine‐learning based model named CRISPR‐Net‐Aggregate is also developed for aggregating the scores as the consensus off‐target score for each potential guide RNA. It is demonstrated that CRISPR‐Net achieves competitive performance on CIRCLE‐Seq and GUIDE‐seq datasets with indels and mismatches, outperforming the state‐of‐the‐art off‐target prediction methods on two independent mismatch‐only datasets. The CRISPR‐Net‐Aggregate also surpasses a competing method on the aggregation task. Moreover, a two‐stage sensitivity analysis is introduced to visualize the CRISPR‐Net prediction on the gRNA‐target pair of interest, demonstrating how implicit knowledge encoded in CRISPR‐Net contributes to the accurate off‐target activity quantification. Finally, the source code is made available at the Code Ocean repository (

Research Area(s)

  • CRISPR systems, deep learning, off-target activities

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