Crop Biotech Update

Development of Glutinous Rice via CRISPR-Cas9 Mutagenesis in Elite Rice Variety

January 17, 2018

In rice (Oryza sativa), the amylose content is controlled by a single dominant Waxy gene. The team of Jinshan Zhang from the Chinese Academy of Sciences used CRISPR-Cas9 to introduce a loss-of-function mutation into the Waxy gene in two widely-cultivated elite japonica varieties.

The mutations brought about by CRISPR-Cas9 in the Waxy gene reduced the amylase content of the rice, converting it into a glutinous one without affecting other desirable agronomic traits. The team was also successful in removing transgenes from the progeny of these genome-edited lines.

The success of CRISPR-Cas9 in inducing mutations in the Waxy gene of rice could offer an effective and easy strategy to improve glutinosity in elite rice varieties. This study also provides an example of generating improved crops with potential for commercialization, by editing a gene of interest directly in elite crop varieties.

For more on this study, read the article in Journal of Integrative Plant Biology.