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Crop Biotech Update

Zinc Finger Nuclease System Developed for Targeted Genome Engineering in Tomato

September 28, 2016

Precise gene targeting in crops has been long-sought for studying gene function. A team of researchers, led by Zoe Hilioti of the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas in Greece developed a zinc finger nuclease (ZFN)-based technology for tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) and evaluated its efficiency in targeted gene mutagenesis.

The team designed a ZFN for the developmental regulator LEAFY-COTYLEDON1-LIKE4 (L1L4) and transiently expressed it in tomato seeds. The ZFN cleaved the target site and stimulated imperfect repair driven by non-homologous end-joining, resulting in the introduction of mutations into the target site. The mutations resulted in L1L4 mutations which conferred heterochronic phenotypes.

These results highlight the feasibility of a custom-designed ZFN in targeted mutagenesis of tomato, which may accelerate the crop's research and breeding.

For more information, read the article in Plant Cell Reports.