Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Develop Genome-Edited Powdery Mildew Resistant Wheat Without Growth Penalties

February 16, 2022

Scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences have used multiplexed CRISPR genome editing to achieve robust disease resistance in wheat without any growth defects. The results of this study are published in Nature.

Gao Caixia's team from the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology and Qiu Jinlong's team from the Institute of Microbiology have developed a new wheat mutant, Tamlo-R32, which shows robust resistance to powdery mildew disease and does not display any growth or yield defects. In 2014, the two teams have developed a wheat variant with robust disease resistance, but it grew poorly compared to wild-type wheat.

In this study, the researchers found that the Tamlo-R32 mutant harbors a large 304-kilobase pair deletion in the TaMLO-B1 locus in addition to two premature stop codons in the TaMLO-A1 and TaMLO-D1 loci. Notably, the large deletion in the wheat B genome resulted in an altered local chromatin landscape, leading to the ectopic activation of TaTMT3B. Through compensation and knockout studies, the researchers found that TaTMT3B has a role in alleviating growth and yield penalties associated with MLO disruption.

For more details, read the articles in the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Science.

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