Nitrogen use efficient wheat developed using CRISPR-Cas9

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences used CRISPR-Cas9 to boost nitrogen use efficiency and increase the yield potential of wheat. The results are published in the Journal of Integrative Plant Biology.

Wheat is an economically important crop, providing food to over 30% of the global population. To improve wheat yield, nitrogen (N) fertilizer is applied widely in wheat fields. However, excessive fertilizer application and low nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) of wheat cause environmental pollution and ecological deterioration. In rice, are1 mutant shows increased NUE and improved yield. Thus, the researchers isolated and characterized ARE1 in wheat then generated a series of transgene-free mutant lines either with partial or triple null taare1 alleles through CRISPR-Cas9-mediated targeted mutagenesis of TaARE1. The mutant lines exhibited improved tolerance to nitrogen deficiency and increased grain yield, without showing any defects in growth.

The results suggest that manipulation of ARE1 through gene editing could improve the NUE of wheat.

Zhang et al. (2021) Increasing yield potential through manipulating of an ARE1 ortholog related to nitrogen use efficiency in wheat by CRISPR/Cas9. Journal of Integrative Plant Biology

Source: Crop Biotech Update

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