Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Use Ribonucleoprotein Complexes for Genome Editing of Wheat

March 7, 2018

CRISPR-Cas9 DNA constructs are transformed into cells via Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. However, this process is associated with a high possibility of CRISPR-Cas9 DNA constructs being integrated into the plant genome, causing unwanted genetic changes. Aiming to avoid this, Zhen Liang of Chinese Academy of Sciences developed a genome editing method for bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) using CRISPR-Cas9 ribonucleoproteins (RNPs).

The team successfully generated five mutants from immature wheat embryos. Analysis reveals that the chance of off-target mutations in wheat cells was much lower in RNP-mediated genome editing than in editing using DNA. No off-target mutations were also detected in the mutant plants.

Since no foreign DNA was used in RNP-mediated genome editing, the mutants obtained were completely transgene free. 

For more information, read the article in Nature Communications.