Targeted genome modification technologies and their applications in crop improvements
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Recent advances in genome engineering indicate that innovative crops developed by targeted genome modification (TGM) using site-specific nucleases (SSNs) have the potential to avoid the regulatory issues raised by genetically modified organisms. These powerful SSNs tools, comprising zinc-finger nucleases, transcription activator-like effector nucleases, and clustered regulatory interspaced short palindromic repeats/CRISPR-associated systems, enable precise genome engineering by introducing DNA double-strand breaks that subsequently trigger DNA repair pathways involving either non-homologous end-joining or homologous recombination. Here, we review developments in genome-editing tools, summarize their applications in crop organisms, and discuss future prospects. We also highlight the ability of these tools to create non-transgenic TGM plants for next-generation crop breeding.
KeywordsTargeted genome modification Site-specific nucleases (SSNs) ZFNs TALENs CRISPRs Crop improvement
The work was supported by the Ministry of Agriculture of China (2013ZX08002-004 and 2013ZX08010-002) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 201263, 383601, and 31200273).
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