Biotech Updates

Gene-edited Rice Shows BIG Gene Vital for Seedling Viability

December 5, 2018

Arabidopsis BIG (AtBIG) gene encodes a large protein necessary for auxin transport and when turned off leads to changes in plant structure and adaptability to environmental stimuli. A similar gene (OsBIG) is present in rice, but its function is yet to be revealed. Thus, scientists from Wuhan University in China conducted a study to characterize the gene structure and function of OsBIG.

Analyses showed that versions of the OsBIG have high amino acid conservation in several domains in different species. For further analysis of loss of function, CRISPR-Cas9 system was used to develop transgenic rice plants with disrupted OsBIG. The transgenic plants exhibited several symptoms of seedling lethality such as cell death, reduced chlorophyll content, and high electrolyte leakage. 

The results showed that OsBIG is vital for normal growth and development of rice plants.

Read the research article from the Journal of Plant Physiology.