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Crop Biotech Update

Genome Modification Delays Petal Senescence in Japanese Morning Glory

May 16, 2018

Flower longevity is one of the most important traits in ornamental plants. In Japanese morning glory (Ipomoea nil), EPHEMERAL1 (EPH1), a NAC transcription factor, is a regulator of petal senescence. A team of scientists led by Kenichi Shibuya's from the National Agricultural Research Organization in Japan used the CRISPR-Cas9 system for targeted mutagenesis of the EPH1 gene in Japanese morning glory.

Three regions within the EPH1 gene were simultaneously targeted by a single CRISPR vector containing three single-guide RNAs. The team then selected eight transformed plants containing the transferred DNA. Analysis revealed that mutations occurred at single or multiple target sites in all eight plants. These mutations were inherited in the T1 generation, where plants exhibited a clear delay in petal senescence.

These results confirm that CRISPR-Cas9 technology can efficiently induce mutations in Japanese morning glory gene. The eph1 mutants developed in this study will be useful for further studies on petal senescence.

For more information, read the article in Plant Physiology and Biochemistry.