Crop Biotech Update

Rice Plant Architecture Engineered Using CRISPR-Cas9

September 19, 2018

During the Green Revolution, short plant height is desirable for crops, as it results to increased yield. Thus, plant architecture has been a key trait in breeding programs, and architecture-related genes are modified in crops through random mutagenesis and traditional plant breeding.

In a study by researcher Haroon Butt and colleagues from the University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia, CRISPR-Cas9 is used to mutate the OsCCD7 gene in rice to explore the strigolactone (SL) biosynthesis in rice. SL is a plant hormone that determines the tiller number, regulates primary and lateral root growth, and participates in biotic and abiotic stresses in plants, such as Striga. Results show impaired SL biosynthesis in OsCCD7 mutants and lower Striga seed germinating activity than the wild type, confirming the gene's role in SL biosynthesis. This study can serve as a model for fine-tuning and engineering SL biosynthesis in plants for improved plant architecture and lowered biotic stress effects.

For more information, read the article in BMC Plant Biology.