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Crop Biotech Update

Reassessment of the Yield-Related Genes in Rice through CRISPR

December 14, 2016

The CRISPR/Cas9 system has been successfully used as efficient tool for genome editing in a variety of species. Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in China aimed to use the CRISPR/Cas9 system to mutate genes reported to function as regulators of grain number (Gn1a), panicle architecture (DEP1), grain size (GS3), and plant architecture (IPA1) in rice.

Analysis of the first generation of transformed plants (T0) showed that the CRISPR/Cas9 system was highly efficient in inducing targeted gene editing, with the desired genes being edited in 42.5% (Gn1a), 67.5% (DEP1), 57.5% (GS3), and 27.5% (IPA1) of the transformed plants.

The T2 generation of the gn1a, dep1, and gs3 mutants exhibited enhanced grain number, dense erect panicles, and larger grain size, respectively. Semi-dwarf and grains with long awns were also observed in dep1 and gs3 mutants, respectively. However, ipa1 mutants showed two contrasting phenotypes, having either fewer tillers or more tillers, depending on the changes induced in the target region.

These data proves that multiple regulators of important traits can be modified in a single cultivar via CRISPR/Cas9 system, and aid in the study of complex regulatory networks and stacking of important traits in cultivated varieties.

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