Homing endonucleases: from genetic anomalies to programmable genomic clippers. Academic Article uri icon


  • Homing endonucleases are strong drivers of genetic exchange and horizontal transfer of both their own genes and their local genetic environment. The mechanisms that govern the function and evolution of these genetic oddities have been well documented over the past few decades at the genetic, biochemical, and structural levels. This wealth of information has led to the manipulation and reprogramming of the endonucleases and to their exploitation in genome editing for use as therapeutic agents, for insect vector control and in agriculture. In this chapter we summarize the molecular properties of homing endonucleases and discuss their strengths and weaknesses in genome editing as compared to other site-specific nucleases such as zinc finger endonucleases, TALEN, and CRISPR-derived endonucleases.

publication date

  • 2014