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Crop Biotech Update

Breakthroughs in Science Using TALENs

January 13, 2021

Transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs), a plant breeding innovation, have been successfully used to develop premium quality high-oleic soybean oil, bacterial blight resistant rice, and potato chips with reduced acrylamide.

Transcription activator-like effectors (TALEs) are proteins made and used by plant pathogenic bacteria to control plant genes during infection. TALENs are protein combinations composed of two parts: one part is the TALE that targets the protein to a specific DNA sequence and the second part is a nuclease (N) that cuts DNA.

Soybean lines with low levels of polyunsaturated fats were developed using TALENs by introducing stacked mutations in two fatty acid desaturase 2 genes (FAD2-1A and FAD2-1B) which confer changes in fatty acid desaturase 3A (FAD3A). This led to oleic acid levels of over 80% and linoleic acid levels under 4%. The gene-edited soybean plants produce premium quality high-oleic soybean oil currently sold as Calyno by Calyxt. It became available in the U.S. market in 2019, making it the first commercialized product from a gene-edited plant.

Read more breakthroughs in science contributed by TALENs from Pocket K No. 59.

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