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Crop Biotech Update

Rice Flowering Gene, Characterized Using CRISPR-Cas9

September 26, 2018
Flowering time is an important trait for crop yield and adaptation. Several genes for this trait have been identified through many methodologies but not through co-expression analysis. 

Researcher Songnian Hu from University of Chinese Academy of Sciences and colleagues analyzed the gene co-expression during flowering using transcriptomic data, and they found a new gene that is oppositely expressed - OsPHL3. To validate its function, CRISPR-Cas9 is used to knockout the gene, whereas overexpression is also done. Results show delayed flowering in the overexpression lines but early flowering in the CRISPR-knockout plants. These results prove that OsPHL3 is a negative regulator of flowering in plants. The report also highlights co-expression analysis as a useful tool in identifying genes associated with important traits in crops. 

For more details, read the article in BMC Plant Biology.