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Crop Biotech Update

The Application of CRISPR in Dendrobium Orchids

December 21, 2016

Dendrobium officinale is a special orchid species that can grow without vernalization. Since the genome sequence of D. officinale is available, it could become a research model for studies of the family Orchidaceae. However, genetic manipulation in D. officinale is poorly studied. Hence, Chinese scientists, led by Ling Kui, aim to successfully apply the CRISPR/Cas9 system to manipulate D. officinale.

Using Agrobacterium-mediated transformation, the team applied the CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing system in D. officinale by selecting five target genes (C3H, C4H, 4CL, CCR and IRX) in the lignocellulose biosynthesis pathway. Results show that the technique can generate edits at a rate of 10 to 100%. The team also compared gene activity under different promoters and found that MMV, CVMV, and PCISV were as effective as the 35S promoter used in the transformation.

These results show that genetic manipulation tools can efficiently express exogenous genes as well as edit genes in D. officinale. These tools can help create novel D. officinale varieties and may also advance the molecular investigation of the Orchidaceae family.

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