Crop Biotech Update

Study Shows a Donor-DNA-free CRISPR-Cas-based Approach to Gene Knock-up in Rice

December 1, 2021

Researchers from China Agricultural University and partners reported that new genes and traits can be developed in rice through designed large-scale genomic inversion or duplication using CRISPR-Cas9. The results are published in Nature Plants.

Structural variations, such as inversion and duplication, contribute to vital agronomic characteristics in crops as well as driving genetic diversification. The potential of designed structural variations in breeding using gene editing tools is still to be explored. Thus, the researchers caused an inversion on chromosome 1 in rice which resulted in a designed promoter swap and a duplication on chromosome 2, creating a novel gene cassette. Then, the original CP12 and Ubiquitin2 genes were highly expressed in leaves, leading to the increased expression of PPO1 and HPPD in edited plants with homozygous SV alleles and conferred herbicide resistance without any significant impact on other important agronomic characteristics.

The results of the study provide a donor-DNA-free strategy, which expands the use of CRISPR-Cas9 in plant and animal improvements.

Read more findings in Nature Plants.

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