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Crop Biotech Update

A New Variant of CRISPR-Cas9 Could Enable Mutation on Nearly Any Plant Genomic Sequence

January 27, 2021
Photo Source: iStock

Researchers from the University of Maryland (UMD) introduced in Nature Plants a new variant of gene editing tool of CRISPR-Cas9 named SpRY. SpRY removes the barriers of what can be and cannot be targeted for gene editing,  making almost any genomic sequence in plants for potential mutation.

CRISPR-Cas9 targets a specific short sequence known as protospacer adjacent motifs (PAM). CRISPR-Cas9 uses PAM to identify where to make cuts in the DNA. Since SpRY breaks these PAM restriction barriers, the researchers can now edit anywhere within the favorable genes. SpRY simplifies genome engineering by enabling DNA editing in a "PAM-less" fashion.

This breakthrough will have a major impact on translational research and crop breeding. The new variant of CRISPR-Cas9 technology can be used on different kinds of crops that will help alleviate food security, nutrition, and safety by speeding up crop evolution and agricultural revolution.

For more details. read the article in Nature Plants.

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