Biotech Updates

Fat Content in Soybean Oil Modified with CRISPR-Cpf1

February 22, 2017

A research team from the Center for Genome Engineering, within the Institute for Basic Research (IBS) in South Korea has successfully edited two genes that contribute to the fat content of soybean oil using the new CRISPR-Cpf1 technology. This technology is an alternative to the more widely used gene editing tool CRISPR-Cas9.

IBS scientists have previously used Cpf1 to edit human DNA cells. This time, they introduced the CRISPR-Cpf1 complex into plant cells. The team designed CRISPR-Cpf1 to cut two of the FAD2 genes in soybeans. These genes are part of the pathway that converts oleic acid into the polyunsaturated linoleic acid. By mutating FAD2 genes, the percentage of oleic acid in soybean seeds increases, resulting in healthier soybean oil.

The IBS research team also discovered at least three benefits of CRISPR-Cpf1 over CRISPR-Cas9: CRISPR-Cpf1 technique has shorter CRISPR-RNA (crRNAs), so the RNA can be synthesized chemically; CRISPR-Cpf1 creates larger deletions (7 base pairs) in the target gene, which is good for making the gene completely inoperative; and the type of cleavage left by Cpf1 might help further gene editing processes.

More details are available at the IBS News Center.