Crop Biotech Update

Low-cadmium Rice Developed Using CRISPR-Cas9

December 14, 2022

China Agricultural University scientists successfully generated low-cadmium rice germplasms using CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing. The results of their study are published in the Journal of Environmental Sciences.

Cadmium is a highly toxic heavy metal that affects living organisms. Human activities such as industrial production and agriculture have led to cadmium pollution in soils, which is a serious problem globally. Cadmium is not required for rice plants, as well as in human nutrition, and may even lead to diseases. Thus, the reduction of cadmium contamination in rice plants is vital to protect human health.

To address this problem, the researchers targeted the OsLCD gene, which has been linked to cadmium accumulation in rice. CRISPR-Cas9 was used to generate oslcd single mutants from indica and japonica rice cultivars. Osnramp5 single mutants and oslcd osnramp5 double mutants in the indica background were also developed. It was found that when grown in cadmium-contaminated paddy soils, all oslcd single mutants accumulated less cadmium than the wild types. Furthermore, oslcd single mutants grown in cadmium-contaminated hydroponic culture accumulated significantly less cadmium in the shoots as compared to the wild types. This decrease in accumulation probably resulted from the reduction of cadmium translocation under cadmium stress.

Based on the results, OsLCD knockout might be used to generate low-cadmium rice germplasms.

Read more in the Journal of Environmental Sciences.

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