The expanding footprint of CRISPR/Cas9 in the plant sciences
CRISPR/Cas9 has evolved and transformed the field of biology at an unprecedented pace. From the initial purpose of introducing a site specific mutation within a genome of choice, this technology has morphed into enabling a wide array of molecular applications, including site-specific transgene insertion and multiplexing for the simultaneous induction of multiple cleavage events. Efficiency, specificity, and flexibility are key attributes that have solidified CRISPR/Cas9 as the genome-editing tool of choice by scientists from all areas of biology. Within the field of plant biology, several CRISPR/Cas9 technologies, developed in other biological systems, have been successfully implemented to probe plant gene function and to modify specific crop traits. It is anticipated that this trend will persist and lead to the development of new applications and modifications of the CRISPR technology, adding to an ever-expanding collection of genome-editing tools. We envision that these tools will bestow plant researchers with new utilities to alter genome complexity, engineer site-specific integration events, control gene expression, generate transgene-free edited crops, and prevent or cure plant viral disease. The successful implementation of such utilities will represent a new frontier in plant biotechnology.
KeywordsCas9 CRISPR Crop improvement Gene editing Gene knock-in Functional genomics
Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats
CRISPR-associated protein 9
Protospacer adjacent motif
Single guide RNA
Transcription activator-like effector nuclease
The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the US Department of Agriculture, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the US Government. The authors apologize to those whose work could not be cited due to space limitation. The authors would like to thank Dr. Michele McConn, Dr. Christopher Hendrickson, and Ms. Vandhana Krishnan for critically reading this manuscript and Mr. Adam Gillum for his assistance in preparing Fig. 3.
Compliance with ethical standards
This work was supported by the US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, under Cooperative Agreement Number 58-3092-5-001.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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