Biotech Updates

Scientists Develop TATSI Technology to Accelerate Gene Editing

July 3, 2024

A recent study published in Nature reveals a technology designed to enhance the efficiency of plant gene editing called Transposase-Assisted Target Site Integration (TATSI). This method used transposable elements to integrate custom DNA into specific locations in plant genomes. By improving the precision and frequency of DNA integration, TATSI aims to make the production of genetically enhanced crops faster and more cost-effective.

This study aimed to tackle one of the major challenges in crop improvement–inefficient and error-prone insertion of foreign DNA into plant genomes. While the CRISPR-Cas system can edit DNA with precision, it struggles with accurately adding custom DNA at these edited sites. With this, the researchers combined the "scissors" function of CRISPR-Cas with the natural "glue" capability of transposable elements to boost the rate of targeted DNA integration.

Slotkin's lab research has been utilizing transposable elements, which comprise over 70% corn genome, for crop improvement. The funding and investment from the Danforth Center US National Science Foundation (NSF) have resulted in prototypes and pre-commercial development. “Born out of the Big Ideas 2.0 competition, this project changed the course of the research we're doing today and into the future. It is a real testament to the broader ‘focus-on-impact' attitude of the Danforth Center,” said Keith Slotkin, PhD, a professor at the University of Missouri, Columbia.

For more information, read the press release from Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.

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