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Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Use Viruses as Delivery Vectors for CRISPR-Cas9

November 15, 2017

The CRISPR-Cas9 system has allowed efficient genome engineering in diverse plant species. However, delivery of genome engineering components, such as the single guide RNA (sgRNA), into plant cells remains challenging.

Zahir Ali of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia engineered the Tobacco rattle virus (TRV) and the Pea early browning virus (PEBV) to deliver one or multiple sgRNAs into tobacco (Nicotiana benthamiana) and Arabidopsis thaliana.

Results showed that TRV and PEBV were successful in delivering sgRNAs into the inoculated plant, resulting in mutations at the targeted genomic loci. Furthermore, in tobacco, PEBV-based sgRNA delivery resulted in more targeted mutations than TRV-based delivery.

This study indicates that TRV and PEBV can be used for plant genome engineering and for producing targeted mutations. These two could also possibly be used for other biotechnological applications across plant species.

For more on this study, read the article in Virus Research.