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Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Show that Genome-editing is Highly Specific in Cotton

October 10, 2018
The CRISPR-Cas9 system has been increasingly popular in crop improvement. Several studies have applied the technology in crops, such as rice. Unlike the diploid rice, cotton is an allotetraploid, which means that it has four types of the gene existing in a plant. This characteristic complicates the application of genome-editing in cotton.

To give an insight on the usability of CRISPR-Cas9 in cotton, researcher Shuangxia Jin from Huazhong Agricultural University and colleagues determined the specificity of the technology through whole genome sequencing. They targeted three genes in cotton using CRISPR-Cas9 and evaluated off-targets thereafter using 14 edited plants and three wild types for sequencing. Results showed that the variations found in the sequences are mostly due to natural variation and tissue culture effects and not due to off-targets. These results show that the CRISPR-Cas9 system is highly specific in cotton and can be used in improving the crop.

For more information, read the article in Plant Biotechnology