Crop Biotech Update

CRISPR Confirms Gene Responsible for Leaf Rolling in Rice

July 12, 2023

Scientists from Guangxi University in China used genome editing to enhance the leaf shape of rice and improve photosynthetic efficiency. Furthermore, they also characterized the plant's regulatory network responsible for leaf shape, specifically in leaf rolling. The results of their study provided evidence for other research work that aims to improve rice varieties by targeting the gene responsible for leaf rolling.

The scientists focused on rice's SRL1 gene, which plays a key role in regulating leaf rolling, an important trait that breeders consider because it keeps the rice leaves upright and reduces interleaf shading. They used CRISPR-Cas9 to target two exons in SRL1 and generated 14 transgenic plants. The succeeding generations of plants were found to have a double-target mutation and exhibited defects in leaf development, leaf rolling in upright leaves, and compact nature of fully grown plants. Results of further transcriptome analysis provided a clearer explanation of the increased leaf rolling of the rice plants. To conclude, the scientists were able to unravel the role of SRL1 in rice's gene regulatory network and demonstrated the potential of CRISPR-Cas9 in rice selective breeding.

More details in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.

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