Biotech Updates

Chinese Scientists Develop Improved CRISPR System

July 18, 2018

The CRISPR-Cas9 system has been widely used for inducing targeted mutations in a variety of species. In Arabidopsis, CRISPR relies on the edited cells where the Cas9 protein does its activity to obtain heritable and stable mutated lines. Fudan University researchers designed an improved CRISPR-Cas9 system, named MSC (meiocyte-specific CRISPR-Cas9) system. In this system, the Cas9 expression is driven by an experimentally approved meiocyte-specific promoter.

To test the system, the team, led by Penghui Xu, targeted two endogenous genes, the vegetative gene AtDET2, and reproductive gene AtDMC1. In the T1 generation, heterozygous plants for the targeted genes were obtained in high efficiency. Meanwhile, homozygous plants were abundant in the T2 generation.

The team also made a suicide-MSC system, which can edit the targeted endogenous gene and the exogenous Cas9 gene simultaneously, maintaining the stable mutated alleles for functional studies.

These two new systems provide new approaches to generate mutations for gene functional studies.

For more information, read the article in Frontiers in Plant Science.