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Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Review Genome Editing Techniques for Nitrogen Fixation Research in Legumes

June 28, 2017

Nitrogen-fixing rhizobia have established a symbiotic relationship with the legumes. Hence, hundreds of legume genes are involved in the symbiotic nitrogen fixation (SNF) process. However, investigations of SNF-related gene functions are significantly restricted by insufficient mutant resources of representative legumes.

Targeted genome-editing technologies, including ZFNs, TALENs, and CRISPR–Cas systems, have been developed in recent years and rapidly revolutionized biological research in many fields. These technologies were also applied to legume plants, and significant progress has been made in the last several years.

The team of Longlong Wang from Huazhong Agricultural University in China reviewed these genome-editing technologies, especially CRISPR, toward the study of SNF in legumes, in hopes of advancing the understanding of the mechanisms underlying the legume–rhizobia interactions. This would also serve as the foundation for engineering the SNF pathway into non-legume crops to reduce the dependence on the use of nitrogen fertilizers.

For more on this review, read the article in Progress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science.