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Crop Biotech Update

CRISPR-Cas9-mediated Targeted Mutagenesis of GmFT2a Delays Flowering in Soybean

May 24, 2017

Flowering marks the transition from vegetative growth to reproductive growth and has considerable effects on soybean (Glycine max). Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences researchers, led by Yupeng Cai, used the CRISPR-Cas9 system to induce targeted mutagenesis of GmFT2a, an integrator in the photoperiod flowering pathway in soybean.

The soybean cultivar Jack was transformed with three sgRNA-Cas9 vectors targeting different sites of the GmFT2a. Site-directed mutations were observed at all targeted sites by DNA sequencing analysis. T1 generation soybean plants homozygous for null alleles of GmFT2a exhibited late flowering under natural conditions in Beijing, China. The targeted mutagenesis was also found to be stably heritable in the following T2 generation.

The team then identified some "transgene-clean" soybean plants that were homozygous for null alleles of GmFT2a and without any transgenic element from the T1 and T2 generations. These mutants may provide materials for more in-depth research of GmFT2a functions.

For more on this study, read the article in Plant Biotechnology Journal.