Applying CRISPR/Cas in Plants: From Gene Editing to Chromosome Engineering
Whereas the CRISPR/Cas technology has been applied in plants mainly on genes for the elucidation of their function or the improvement of traits Holger Puchta’s lab could now show, that the technology can also be utilized to restructure plant chromosomes. They were able to induce NHEJ-mediated heritable translocations in the Mb range between heterologous chromosomes in Arabidopsis thaliana as wells as the reversion of a 1.1 Mb inversion on chromosome 4 of the accession Arabidopsis Col-0. Thus, they could bring back meiotic crossovers into this region that was inaccessible for genetic exchange before. Chromosome engineering can be used for fixing or breaking genetic linkages between traits or control specification and has the potential to revolutionize plant breeding.
Holger Puchta is head of the Botanical Institute of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and holds the Chair of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry.
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