Crop Biotech Update

KIT Researchers Use CRISPR to Prevent Genetic Exchange

September 21, 2022

Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) used CRISPR to invert and deactivate nine-tenths of a chromosome to prevent genetic exchange. The results of their study are published in Nature Plants.

To breed an ideal crop, it must possess traits that make it tasty, high-yielding, and pest and disease-resistant. However, if the genes that confer these traits are far from each other in the chromosome, some favorable traits could be lost during breeding. Using CRISPR, the researchers were able to prevent genetic exchange in Arabidopsis that normally occurs during the hereditary process. They shut down almost the entire chromosome to make it seem invisible, enabling the transfer of all traits on that chromosome. If the traits were passed on together, the genes for those traits must stay close to each other on the same chromosome. This “genetic invisibility” happens frequently on a smaller scale in wild and cultivated plants. The researchers have used this technique so that the chromosome can be passed on to the next generation.

Read the press release from KIT.

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