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Crop Biotech Update

Genome Editing of Wheat Alters Spike and Grain Characteristrics

October 14, 2020

Researchers from Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences used CRISPR-SpCas9 to edit wheat TaAQ and TaDq, transcription factors that are vital in the evolution of the spike characteristics from wild and domesticated emmer to modern wheat cultivars. The findings are released in the Journal of Genetics and Genomics.

Mutant plants with loss-of-function of only TaAQ or TaDq and simultaneous loss-of-function of TaAQ and TaDq were obtained to analyze the effect of these genes on wheat spikes and floret shapes. The results showed that the TaAQ-edited plants and the TaAQ and TaDq simultaneously edited plants were similar in spike architecture, while TaDq-edited plants were different from the wild-type only in plant height. Furthermore, the TaAQ-edited plants or the TaAQ and TaDq simultaneously edited plants were more breakable than the wild-type and the TaDq-edited plants.

The findings in the study were used to come up with a regulatory network of wheat traits, including plant height, spike shape, and floral organs, which were influenced by AP2-like family genes. The results will help researchers comprehend the mechanisms of TaAQ and TaDq genes on wheat floral organs and inflorescence development.

Read the research article in Journal of Genetics and Genomics.

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