Biotech Updates

Rain-resistant Wheat Developed Using Genome Editing

August 28, 2019

Photo Source: Okayama University and the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization

Researchers have developed a rain-resistant wheat variety using the CRISPR-Cas9 system. This breakthrough could lead to the development of better-quality flour. The study was published in Cell Reports.

Researchers from the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) and Okayama University said that genome editing helped them develop the new wheat variety in just about a year. Such development used to take about 10 years using conventional breeding techniques.

Using Agrobacterium-mediated CRISPR-Cas9, the team developed wheat lines with dysfunctional Qsd1, which regulates seed dormancy or sprouting. Eight transformed events were produced, and one mutant showed promising characteristics, which was then crossed with a wild-type variety (Fielder) to come up with a transgene-free mutant. The resulting plants were watered for one week and only 20-30 percent sprouted, while almost all the ordinary wheat seeds exposed to the same conditions had sprouts.

The findings show that the technique could be used as a model for trait improvement in wheat.

Read the open-access article about the study in Cell Reports and the news article in The Asahi Shimbun.

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