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Crop Biotech Update

DNA-free Genome Editing of Bread Wheat using CRISPR/Cas9 Ribonucleoprotein Complex

January 25, 2017

Studies have been made to optimize the CRISPR/Cas9 system for crop breeding. The main reasons for these studies are the avoidance of transgene integration and reduction of off-target mutations. Zhen Liang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences aimed to develop an efficient genome editing method for bread wheat using CRISPR/Cas9 ribonucleoproteins (RNPs).

The developed protocol takes only seven to nine weeks. Four to five independent mutants were produced from 100 immature wheat embryos. Further analysis revealed much lower chance of off-target mutations in RNP-mediated genome editing than with CRISPR/Cas9 DNA. Furthermore, no off-target mutations were detected in the mutant plants.

Since no foreign DNA is used in CRISPR/Cas9 RNP-mediated genome editing, the mutants obtained were completely transgene-free. This method could be widely applicable for producing genome-edited crops.

For more information, read the article in Nature Communications.