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Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Study the Use of CRISPR/Cas9 to Generate Virus Resistance

November 16, 2016

Plant viruses infect economically important crops and pose a serious threat to agriculture worldwide as it may cause production to fall short. Since conventional strategies can fail to control rapidly evolving and emerging plant viruses, genome-engineering strategies, such as CRSPR/Cas9, have recently emerged as promising tools to introduce desirable traits in plants. Recent studies have used CRISPR/Cas9 to engineer virus resistance in plants, either by directly targeting and cleaving the viral genome, or by editing the host plant genome to introduce viral immunity.

The team of Syed Shan-e-Ali Zaidi of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia reviewed the biology of the CRISPR/Cas9 system and plant viruses, and how different genome engineering technologies have been used to target viruses. The team also described the main findings from recent studies of CRISPR/Cas9-mediated viral interference and discussed how these findings can be applied to improve global agriculture.

For more on this study, read the article in Frontiers in Plant Science.