Transcription activator-like effectors (TALEs) are modular proteins derived from the plant Xanthomonas sp. pathogen that can be designed to target unique DNA sequences following a simple cipher. Customized TALE proteins can be used in a variety of molecular applications that include gene editing and transcriptional modulation. Presently, we provide a brief primer on the design and construction of TALEs. TALE proteins can be fused to a variety of different effector domains that alter the function of the TALE upon binding. This flexibility of TALE design and downstream effect may offer therapeutic applications that are discussed in this section. Finally, we provide a future perspective on TALE technology and what challenges remain for successful translation of gene-editing strategies to the clinic.