Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Study Morphological Impact of ERECTA Genes in Rice Using CRISPR

April 4, 2018

The ERECTA family of genes (ERfs) is known to do several functions in Arabidopsis, including cell proliferation and growth, stomatal patterning, and response to stresses. This puts them as a potential candidate for crop improvement. However, their morphological impact in crops is limited. The team of Yanchun Zhang from Nanjing University in China used the CRISPR-Cas9 system to study the morphological impact of ERfs on rice.

Loss-of-function mutants of OsER1 and OsER2 developed through CRISPR displayed shortened plant stature and reduced panicle size, suggesting they also possibly function in cell proliferation and growth in rice. Furthermore, the team also found clues that hint at rice ERfs playing more unique functional roles.

Through evolutionary prediction, the team also found that the ER family is present across different species, suggesting that most of their functions may also be observed in other plant species. Further investigations on these functions are key to using ERfs in crop development.

For more information, read the article in Frontiers in Plant Science.