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Crop Biotech Update

Chinese Scientists Develop Fungus-Resistant Cotton

June 6, 2018

Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) is an allotetraploid species. This makes mutants difficult to generate by traditional approaches due to gene redundancy. The team of Zhennan Zhang from the Institute of Microbiology of the Chinese Academy of Science used the CRISPR-Cas9 system to confer fungal resistance to cotton through editing of the Gh14-3-3d gene.

In T0 transgenic plants, several mutations at the expected target site were detected in the allotetraploid cotton At or Dt subgenomes. These same mutations were also found to be stably transmitted to the next generation. These mutations in the At and Dt subgenomes also segregated in the T1 transgenic plants following Mendelian law.

Two homozygous Gh14-3-3d-edited transgene-free plants were chosen and designated as ce1 and ce2. Both lines exhibited high resistance to Verticillium dahliae infestation compared to the wildtype plants. These transgene-free lines can be used as a germplasm to breed disease-resistant cotton varieties.

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