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Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Use CRISPR to Understand Genetic Characteristics of Wound Healing in Potatoes

September 1, 2021

To help reduce huge losses in the potato industry, biochemist Dylan Kosma from the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources at the University of Nevada, Reno, is using a biochemistry approach to identify genetic characteristics of the wound healing process in potatoes.

Potato tuber wound healing involves suberin, a corky material that makes up a large proportion of "skin" that covers wound sites. Suberin is a lipid polymer that is produced by all plants and is a major component of wound healing tissues in potatoes. Poor suberin production during the wound healing process means post-harvest potato losses. Efficient wound healing and associated suberin production are critical for sealing off tuber wound sites to prevent pathogen entry and associated tuber losses in storage.

Kosma's team used CRISPR-based editing to identify the genes in potatoes to better understand the master switches that activate wound suberin deposition. The team identified the first transcription factors known to regulate the deposition of components that make up the skin that forms during the wound healing process in potatoes. They found two potato transcription factors, StMYB102 (PGSC0003DMG400011250) and StMYB74 (PGSC0003DMG400022399), as regulators of wound suberin biosynthesis and deposition and are important regulators of wound suberization process in tubers.

For more details, read the article in Nevada Today.

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