Crop Biotech Update

CRISPR-Kill Prevents Formation of Specific Organs During Plant Development

April 6, 2022
Photo Source: Angelina Schindele, KIT

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) scientists developed CRISPR-Kill, a new technique to remove the complete DNA of certain cell types to prevent the formation of specific organs during plant development. This technique is presented in Nature Communications.

The research team, led by Prof. Holger Puchta, a molecular biologist at KIT and one of the co-developers of CRISPR-Cas for plants, developed CRISPR-Kill which induces multiple cuts in the genome. CRISPR-Cas has been useful in targeting one location and cuts once or twice to modify a gene or chromosome. “Now, we have reprogrammed our molecular scissors. They no longer address the genomic DNA only once, but aim in the respective cell type for a sequence that is encountered often in the genome and that is essential for the survival of the cell. In this way, many cuts are induced at the same time - too many for the cell to repair them. The cell will die,” Prof. Puchta explains.

They tested the technique on secondary roots and petals of Arabidopsis. After the cells were eliminated, CRISPR-Kill plants did not form any petals or secondary roots, while the control plants showed normal growth.

Know more from KIT and Nature Communications.

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