Crop Biotech Update

Cas9 Technology Used to Analyze Role of MORC1 in Barley

April 18, 2018

In plants, microrchidia (MORC) proteins were first discovered in Arabidopsis thaliana mutants compromised for resistance to a viral pathogen. Further studies revealed their involvement in gene silencing and genome stabilization. However, little is known about their role in cereals.

The team of Neelendra Kumar from Justus‐Liebig University Giessen in Germany used a Streptococcus pyogenes Cas9 (SpCas9) approach to study HvMORC1, a MORC protein in barley (Hordeum vulgare). The team detected very high mutation frequencies in HvMORC1 in the T0 generation (77%) and T1 (70%‐100%). The resulting SpCas9‐edited hvmorc1-knockout barley expressed increased disease resistance to fungal pathogens.

For more information, read the article in Plant Biotechnology Journal.