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Crop Biotech Update

CRISPR-Cas12a Applied in Rice

November 28, 2018

The CRISPR-Cas9 complex is able to target genomic sequences of interest through a recognition site called PAM. As the number of genome's PAM sites is only to a certain number, other sites cannot be targeted by the CRISPR-Cas9 complex. This limitation is addressed by a more recently discovered enzyme called Cas12a or Cpf1, which recognizes a different PAM than Cas9.

Scientist Lanqin Xia from Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and colleagues applied the CRISPR-Cas12a complex in rice by targeting genes OsPDS, which encodes a phytoene desaturase, and OsSBEIIb, which encodes a starch branching enzyme IIb. The researchers performed Agrobacterium-mediated genetic transformation to deliver the gene editing complex and tested the feasibility, efficacy, and multiplexing activity of the complex. Results showed editing efficiencies 20 to 31 percent in single targets and 1 to 9 percent in multiple targets. Notably, multiplexing is applicable using the Cas12a enzyme and larger insertions and deletions are produced compared with those in Cas9. The applicability of Cas12a may also be tested in other crops and plant species.

For more information, read the article in Molecular Plant.