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Crop Biotech Update

Application of CRISPR-Cas9 Genome Editing in Wild Strawberry

April 25, 2018

The CRISPR-Cas9 system is an effective editing tool for plant and animal genomes. However, there are only a few reports on the application of CRISPR-Cas9 to horticultural plants. The team of Junhui Zhou from the University of Maryland in the USA aimed to evaluate the application of CRISPR-Cas9 in wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca) by targeting the auxin biosynthesis gene TAA1 and Auxin Response Factor 8 (ARF8).

The team was successful in generating CRISPR-edited plants with mutations on their respective target sites. The genome-edited plants with the arf8 homozygous knockout mutations grew considerably faster than wild type plants. To test the transmission of the edited mutations, the progeny of the primary (T0) genome-edited plants carrying the CRISPR construct were analyzed and were found to harbor the same mutations detected in T0 plants.

These results indicate that CRISPR can be used to edit the wild strawberry genome at a high efficiency. This opens up opportunities for engineering strawberry and related horticultural crops to improve traits of economic importance.

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