Crop Biotech Update

Gene Editing Used to Enhance Maize’s Plant Architecture and Drought Tolerance

August 30, 2023

Researchers gene-edited a gibberellin (GA) biosynthesis enzyme to boost plant height and drought resistance in maize. This serves as a novel technique for drought resistance and plant architecture improvement in maize.

Drought stress can severely suppress crop yield performance. However, the exchange of yield performance and drought tolerance is extremely difficult in crop breeding. Some phytohormones such as GA have a specific role in plant drought response, as well as plant growth and development.

To identify the function of ZmGA20ox3, a GA biosynthesis enzyme, scientists used CRISPR-Cas9 to induce loss-of-function mutation. The mutants exhibited a semi-dwarfing phenotype when GAwas decreased. There was almost no yield loss when compared with wild-type plants. The results suggest that ZmGA20ox3 may have a crucial importance on maize's stress response and its function loss can improve drought tolerance in maize seedling.

For more details, read the preprint published in Research Square.

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