Detection of sgRNA via SHERLOCK as Potential CRISPR Related Gene Doping Control Strategy: Analytical Chemistry

Alina Paßreiter, Nana Naumann, Andreas Thomas, Nicolas Grogna, Philippe Delahaut, Mario Thevis

Publication: Contribution to journalJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


Apprehensions about gene doping have grown consistently due to advancements in gene engineering techniques, particularly with the emergence of clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/CRISPR-associated (CRISPR/Cas)-based tools. These tools not only provide unprecedented possibilities for illicit performance enhancement by athletes but also offer new avenues for the detection of gene doping through biosensing of nucleic acids. Hence, pursuing on a previous study, an analytical method based on reverse transcriptase-recombinase polymerase amplification (RT-RPA) and subsequent qualitative nucleic acid detection by means of Specific High Sensitive Enzymatic Reporter UnLOCKing (SHERLOCK) was optimized for the direct detection of sgRNA associated with Streptococcus pyogenes in serum. Detection device, assay parameters, and sample handling were adjusted, to overcome previously determined assay limitations. The conducted method characterization confirmed the methods’ specificity and increased detection sensitivity from 100 pM to 1 fM sgRNA in 100 μL of serum. Furthermore, reanalysis of in vivo mouse administration samples collected in a previous proof-of-concept study was conducted with successful identification of sgRNA in all anticipated postadministration samples within the 24-h collection period. Those findings support the applicability of the refined analytical procedure for the detection of illegal doping attempts via ribonucleoprotein-based CRISPR/Cas application through sgRNA identification, offering a new potential doping control strategy for CRISPR related gene doping.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnalytical chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 2024


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