Biotech Updates

Researchers Present Gene Editing Applications in Horticultural Crops

October 24, 2018

Genome editing has drawn much attention of scientists and breeders to address the growing need for food security globally. Since 2013, publications talking about CRISPR-Cas-based genome editing has been growing. This technology has been applied in crops including horticultural ones.

In a review paper, researcher Alessandra Koltun from State University of Maringa in Brazil and colleagues evaluate the applicability of CRISPR-Cas systems in horticultural crops, such as fruits, vegetables, flowers, and medicinal and aromatic plants. In the paper, the authors comprehensively describe how CRISPR-Cas work and is used in breeding. They enumerate crops in which gene editing has been applied. These crops and traits include dwarf cabbage, blocked purple color carrot, biotic stress-resistant cucumber, reduced amylose potato, faster growing strawberry, delayed ripening tomato, and albino watermelon. They particularly mentioned that these developed crops are modified, but transgene-free, a trait important in considering whether or not to regulate the commercialization of these crops. In potato, eliminating transgene components is more difficult because of its complex genome. Thus, the authors also mentioned the usage of protoplasts or ribonucleoproteins to overcome this limitation. Finally, they stated that gene editing holds promise for horticultural crops, but testing the applicability of the technology in other crops is still needed.

For more information, read the article in Horticultura Brasileira.