Use of CRISPR systems in plant genome editing: Toward new opportunities in agriculture
The present study (PDF) in Emerging Topics in Life Sciences reviews agricultural applications related to the use of CRISPR systems in plants from 52 peer-reviewed articles published since 2014. Considerable progress has been made in plant genome editing thanks to CRISPR/Cas systems. CRISPR/Cas allows straightforward, cost-effective and efficient gene editing compared with previous technologies. However, the method is still develloping and scientific efforts must continue to be made in order to obtain a mature technology and to realize the full potential of the technology. The heritability and transgene-free character of the generated plants by CRISP/Cas has been demonstrated, confirming that this should no longer be a concern for agricultural applications. This opens up many opportunities for different industrial applications of CRISPR systems. The review shows that the application of CRISPR/Cas systems is mainly achieved directly in crops. The most important group of target applications relates to yield traits followed by the achievement of biotic or abiotic stress tolerance. The most studies crop is rice, followed by maize, tomato, potato, barly and wheat. The emergence of biofortification in the list of applications can be related to that of metabolic engineering. An extensive knowledge of plant biology and gene functionalities is required before using CRISPR/Cas systems in a specific species for a particular application. The application of Cas gene editing requires the precise definition of the target DNA sequence and the availability of good genome sequence data of the studied species in order to allow design of single-guide RNAs.