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Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Engineer Potyvirus Resistance in Arabidopsis Using CRISPR/Cas9

September 14, 2016

In previous studies, members of the eukaryotic translation initiation factor (eIF) gene family, including eIF(iso)4E from Arabidopsis, have been identified as recessive resistance alleles against potyviruses in a range of hosts. However, the introgression of these alleles into major crop species is limited.

The team of Douglas E. Pyott from the University of Edinburgh in the UK used CRISPR/Cas9 technology to introduce sequence-specific deleterious point mutations at the eIF(iso)4E locus in Arabidopsis thaliana to successfully engineer a complete resistance to Turnip mosaic virus (TuMV), a major pathogen in vegetable crops. By segregating the induced mutation from the CRISPR/Cas9 transgene, this study forms a framework for the production of heritable mutations in the transgene-free T2 generation in the self-pollinating species.

Analysis of the four independent T3 lines developed from the transformation revealed no differences between them and the wild-type plants, suggesting that mutations in eIF(iso)4E do not affect plant vigor. The CRISPR/Cas9 technology provides a new approach for the modifying crops with Potyvirus resistance alleles.

 For more information on the study, read the article in Molecular Plant Pathology.