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Crop Biotech Update

Experts Tackle Induced Mutagenesis in Date Palm Breeding

June 23, 2021

Targeted mutagenesis could be a potential approach in date palm improvement, according to King Faisal University researchers and partners. A chapter in the book The Date Palm Genome tackles the potential use of mutagenesis techniques in date palm improvement.

Date palm is an economically important crop in the oases agroecological zones. There are limited studies on the genetic improvement of this fruit tree to exhibit desirable characteristics. Conventional means have been tested, but site-directed mutations such as TALENs, ZNFs, and CRISPR are yet to be used in the improvement of date palm.

The experts project that new breeding techniques can be very effective in engineering date palm genomes. However, with the fruit tree's complex genome, heterozygosity and outcrossing, somaclonal variation during in vitro regeneration, the presence of single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), and ultimate genetic instability caused by these SNPs may pose challenges. These concerns may be addressed effectively by the execution of site-specific CRISPR-Cas versions, like base editing, combined with high-throughput screening tools.

Read the abstract in SpringerLink.

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