Biotech Updates

Researcher Uses CRISPR-Cas9 as Immune System for Plants

July 11, 2018

CRISPR-Cas9 system has been adapted for targeted genome editing across species for a variety of applications. Before that, the same system provided immunity to bacteria and archaea against invading phages, conjugative plasmids, and nucleic acids. Researchers from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia aimed to adapt the CRISPR-Cas9 system to function as an immunity machine against plant DNA viruses.

To test if the CRISPR-Cas9 system is applicable to plants, the team led by Manal Tashkandi, produced plants stably overexpressing Cas9 and sgRNAs against single or multiple DNA viruses in tobacco and tomato plants for durable virus resistance. These were then tested in virus- interference experiments. Developing a viral-interference system in plants will help understand the mechanism of virus biology and host-defense mechanisms against plant viruses.

This study succeeded in testing the efficacy of CRISPR-Cas9 system for viral interference in plants. This could be used for developing plants resistant to multiple viral infections.

For more information, read the article on the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology website.