Top of the Crops

30 September 2015 - By: Henry Daniell

Top of the Crops

By Henry Daniell

The CRISPR/Cas9system produces specific and homozygous targeted gene editing rice in one generation.

Hui Zhang1, Jinshan Zhang1,2, Pengliang Wei1,2, Botao Zhang1, Feng Gou1,2, Zhengyan Feng1,2,3, Yanfei Mao1, Lan Yang1, Heng Zhang1, Nanfei Xu1 and Jian-Kang Zhu1,4

Plant Biotechnology Journal 2014 Aug;12(6): 797-807. doi:10.1111/pbi.12200. Epub 2014 May 23.

1Shanghai Center for Plant Stress Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China; 2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China; 3Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China; 4Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA

Induced mutations have been a valuable source of useful genetic variation for applied crop breeding. Traditionally these mutations have involved chemical or physical processes whereby random modifications to the genome are generated and selected. Plant biologists have been searching for ways to accurately edit plant genes and allow more efficient crop improvement. The CRISPR (clustered regularly interspersed short palindromic repeats)/Cas9 system has been shown to efficiently induce targeted gene editing in a variety of organisms including plants. In this work, two rice subspecies and eleven target genes were analyzed for their amenability to CRISPR/Cas9-induced editing. The patterns, specificity and heritability of the gene modifications were determined and it was shown that homozygous mutations for the targeted genes could be produced in the first generation of CRISPR/Cas9 transgenic rice plants (T0).

Further analysis indicated that the CRISPR/Cas9 system was highly efficient in rice, with target genes edited in nearly half of the transformed embryogenic cells before their first cell division. Gene mutations were transferred to the next generation (T1) following classic Mendelian laws without detectable new mutations or reversions. Extensive analysis, including whole genome resequencing, confirmed that there were no large-scale off-target effects for any of the tested targets. This work firmly establishes the CRISPR/Cas gene editing technology as a cornerstone for future rice improvement that provides unparalleled opportunities for radical enhancements in yield, stress-tolerance and nutritional quality.

Category: Plant Biology