Journal: Nature Biotechnology
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Cultivating better crops with CRISPR
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Fusion gene-editing could accelerate efforts to grow more crops that are not harmed by herbicides.
A team including researchers from The University of Tsukuba have used a fusion of CRISPR-Cas9, a precise genome editing tool, and cytosine deaminase, an enzyme that mutates DNA base pairs, on two common crops. Base pairs are the building blocks of the DNA double helix that carries all the genetic instructions for an organism to grow. The combined technique enables targeted editing of these base pairs, removing the risk of unwanted mutations and negating the need to insert DNA from another organism — which requires breaking and repairing the double helix.
The team used this fusion technique to introduce resistance to the herbicide imazamox in rice (Orzya sativa) and heritable mutations into two hormone-regulating genes in a tomato (Solanum lycopersicum).
This precise gene-editing method could support the global quest to grow better crops and may help reduce the risk of mutations spreading beyond the targeted species.
- Nature Biotechnology 35, 441–443 (2017). doi: 10.1038/nbt.3833