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August 8th, 2018 / ISAAA, US

Researchers have found that the CRISPR – Cas9 system can be applied to nearly every organism. Early studies using CRISPR – Cas9 for gene editing have focused on crops important for agriculture. It was realized early on that the system could be used in crops to improve traits, such as yield, plant architecture, plant aesthetics, and disease tolerance.

CRISPR has been used to edit the genome of rice. The team of Ying Wang from Syngenta Biotechnology China designed several CRISPR sgRNAs and successfully deleted fragments of the dense and erect panicle1 (DEP1) gene in the Indica rice line IR58025B. Improvements
in yield-related traits, such as dense and erect panicles and reduced plant height,were observed in the mutant plants produced.9

A team of researchers from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences led by Yupeng Cai also used the CRISPR-Cas9 system to induce mutations on GmFT2a, an integrator in the photoperiod flowering pathway of soybean. The developed soybean plants showed late flowering, resulting in increased vegetative size. The mutation was also found to be stably inherited in the following generation. Read more