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Crop Biotech Update

Gene-editing Used to Determine Gene Functions for Wheat Grain Traits

September 26, 2018
The allopolyploid genome (e.g. AABBDD) of wheat hinders its genetic improvement through molecular tools. With the development of genome-editing comes opportunities for expanding wheat genetic diversity. Researcher Eduard Akhunov from Kansas State University and colleagues utilize CRISPR-Cas9, together with mutagenesis, to investigate the role of wheat gene TaGW2 in relation to grain traits.

CRISPR-knockout plants for the gene show increased grain size and weight, indicating a negative regulator function for TaGW2. Notably, the gene also affect the phenotype in a dose-dependent manner, that is, plants mutated at two or more genomes show greater change in phenotype than when mutated only at one genome. Using a TILLING population, the researchers further confirm that the gene is a negative regulator for grain size and weight.

For more details, read the article in Theoretical and Applied Genetics.