Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Update on CRISPR Utility for Crop Improvement

August 22, 2018

CRISPR is a second-generation genome-editing tool that proved to have advantages over first-generation tools such as zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs) and transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs). After five years since the technology was discovered, scientists from India review the progress of using CRISPR for crop improvement.

The paper tackles the reasons behind the time- and cost-effectivity of CRISPR compared with other genome-editing tools. The review also touched on the improvements made in the Cas9 enzyme to improve its specificity and reduce off-target cleavage. They also mentioned the discovery of CRISPR-Cpf1 and described Addgene, which is the global repository for plasmids that researchers can use to target specific genes of interest.

The progress in using CRISPR to improve important traits in crops such as rice, wheat, maize, arabidopsis, cotton, soybean, tomato, potato, citrus, and grape was also discussed. It was concluded that CRISPR-edited crops has the potential to pave the way to better food security.

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