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CARBON Newsletter (23 February 2022) - Your Latest News About CRISPR in AgroBio

Some of the best links we picked up around the internet

By: Gorm Palmgren - Feb. 23, 2022

CRISPR AgroBio News (CARBON) is a new initiative from CRISPR Medicine News. CARBON will bring you the latest news on how CRISPR can shape agriculture for the future to guarantee food security in times of population growth and climate change.

To get more CRISPR AgroBio News delivered to your inbox, sign up to the free weekly CARBON Newsletter here.

Top Picks

  • Powdery mildew resistance without growth penalties has been obtained in elite wheat varieties by Chinese researchers. The feat was accomplished by multiplex knockout of three MLO susceptibility genes and simultaneous activation of TMT3, thereby reversing growth defects caused by MLO knockout. In an interview with CARBON, senior-author Caixia Gao predicts that the resistant elite wheat can be grown commercially in China in just 3-4 years from now.
  • Researchers in Denmark propose a new major direction in plant breeding called GEARED that is based on the CRISPR toolkit. GEARED is short for genome editing-accelerated re-domestication and it takes advantage of the fact that wild relatives of current crops often are adapted to harsh environments and have a high genetic diversity. GEARED intends to re-domesticate these wild relatives by introducing major agricultural traits using CRISPR and other upcoming technologies. The aim is both to adapt crops to environmental changes and to counter negative effects of agriculture like soil depletion.

Technical advances

Disease control

Nutritional quality

  • Researchers in India demonstrate a CRISPR-based method for increasing the β-carotene content of bananas and thereby develop transgene-free biofortified fruit. The researchers targeted carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase 4 (CCD4) - which is involved in β-carotene degradation - in protoplasts and embryogenic cell lines of the low β-carotene banana cultivar Rasthali. This led to increased β-carotene accumulation in non-green tissue compared with the unedited control plants.
  • Chinese researchers have created fragrant sorghum with extraordinary aromatic smell in both seeds and leaves through CRISPR-Cas9-mediated knockout of SbBADH2. The gene is involved in the biosynthesis of a major volatile compound that contributes to fragrance in rice. Animal feeding experiments showed that fragrant sorghum leaves were attractable.
  • A CRISPR-Cas9 approach to promote anthocyanin accumulation in grapevine is demonstrated by researchers in China. They targeted the negative regulator of anthocyanin biosynthesis, VvbZIP36, a member of the bZIP family. This resulted in the accumulation of anthocyanin and related metabolites, while the synthesis of stilbenes (α-viniferin), lignans and some flavonols were significantly inhibited.
  • Researchers in Korea have used CRISPR-Cas9 to increase the production of edible oil in the photosynthetic microalgaeChlamydomonas reinhardtii. The authors used sequential CRISPR-Cas9 RNP-mediated knock-out to generate double knock-out mutants, in which both the zeaxanthin epoxidase (ZEP) and ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (AGP) genes were mutated. Mutants produced 81% more oil and showed a similar increase in macular pigment productivity. Since the RNP delivery strategy avoids the integration of nucleic acids, the enriched macular pigment oil can be applied to various food products and nutraceuticals.

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News: CARBON Newsletter (23 February 2022) - Your Latest News About CRISPR in AgroBio
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