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Crop Biotech Update

Development of High-Amylose Rice through CRISPR/Cas9

March 1, 2017

Cereals with high amylose content and resistant starch offer potential health benefits. Previous studies have demonstrated that the starch branching enzyme (SBE) plays a major role in determining the structure and physical properties of starch. However, controlling starch branching remain a challenge in commercial lines.

Researchers, headed by Yongwei Sun of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, used CRISPR/Cas9 technology to generate targeted mutagenesis in SBEI and SBEIIb genes in rice. The team obtained T0 homozygous or bi-allelic  SBEI and SBEIIb mutant lines. Mutations in the homozygous T0 lines stably transmitted to the T1 generation while those in the bi-allelic lines segregated in a Mendelian fashion.

No obvious differences were observed between the SBEI mutants and wild type. However, SBEII mutants showed a higher proportion of long chains presented in debranched amylopectin, significantly increased amylase content and resistant starch content, and altered fine structure and nutritional properties of starch.

These results demonstrate the feasibility of developing high-amylose rice through CRISPR/Cas9-mediated editing of SBEIIb.

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