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Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Identify Abiotic Stress Tolerance Genes for Editing in Upland Rice

September 22, 2021

Experts from the Colombian Corporation of Agricultural Research and partners identified the genes linked to abiotic stress tolerance in upland rice cultivars (Llanura11 and Porvenir12) adapted to acid soils using CRISPR-Cas9. Their findings are published in Research Square.

Five candidate stress tolerance genes were selected to know more about the allelic variation in commercial Colombian tropical japonica upland rice cultivars adapted to drought-prone acid soil environments. Variants of the genes were characterized using PCR and/or Sanger sequencing in the two upland cultivars and then compared with reference genomes. Two potential genes were chosen for genome editing: SUB1A to improve tolerance to flooding, and SPDT to improve phosphorus utilization efficiency and grain quality.

Technical and regulatory considerations led the team to pick SPDT for editing. Evaluations showed that the upland rice cultivars were shown to carry the SPDT wild-type allele. Using CRISPR-Cas9 system, along with other techniques, the SPDT gene was deleted and confirmed. The expected outcome was confirmed in protoplasts and served as the basis for current plant transformation experiments that target to improve the P-use efficiency of upland rice grown in acidic soils.

Read more findings in Research Square.

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