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Crop Biotech Update

CRISPR-Cas9-Mediated Gene Replacement Generates Long-shelf Life Tomato Lines

October 25, 2017

Breeders have long dreamed of developing genetically-enhanced breeding elites with value-adding performance as quickly as possible. With the present gene editing technologies, such as the CRISPR-Cas9 system, there is a reasonable expectation towards quickly achieving breeding goals.

To evaluate the possible application of CRISPR-Cas9 on accelerating plant breeding, the team of Qing-hui Yu from Xinjiang Academy of Agricultural Science in China aimed to develop tomatoes with long shelf-life through gene replacement via homology directed repair (HDR) using CRISPR-Cas9.

The team aimed to replace the tomato ALC gene with a recessive alc gene. The average mutation frequency reached 72.73%. However, low replacement efficiency (7.69%) was achieved in T0 transgenic plants. No homozygous recessive mutations were detected in T0 plants.  The heterozygous mutants stably transmitted the mutation to the T1 generation for segregation. The desired alc homozygous mutants were achieved in T1 generations.

This was further confirmed by characterization, highlighted by excellent storage performance. These results prove that CRISPR-Cas9-induced gene replacement via HDR could be a valuable method for breeding elite lines in tomato.

For more on this study, read the article in Scientific Reports.