Biotech Updates

CRISPR-Cas9 Used to Edit Wheat Gene to Increase Grain Shape and Weight

June 26, 2019

Grain size and weight are among the vital yield-related traits observed in crops. In a study conducted by Kansas State University, CRISPR-Cas9 was used to edit TaGW7, a homolog of rice OsGW7 encoding a TONNEAU1–recruiting motif (TRM) protein, which led to modifications in grain shape and weight in allohexaploid wheat. The results are published in The Plant Journal.

Editing the TaGW7 homoeologs in the B and D genomes led to mutations that caused an increase in grain width and weight but decreased the length of the grain. It was found that the effects of gene editing on grain morphology and weight characteristics depend on the amount of dosage, with the double-copy mutant having a greater impact than the respective single copy mutants. The TaGW7‐centered gene co‐expression network showed that this gene is linked to the pathways involved in cell division and organ growth, as confirmed by the cellular colocalization of TaGW7 with α‐ and β‐tubulin proteins, the building blocks of microtubule arrays. Further analyses also showed that TaGW7 likely played a vital function in the evolution of yield characteristics in wheat.

Read more results in The Plant Journal.