Improving crops by genome editing

Introducing new desirable traits in domesticated crops takes time and is limited by the need for existing trait variation in members of the same species or closely related species. Rodríguez-Leal et al. propose a system by which variation in a quantitative trait can be generated by editing the promoter (where numerous transcriptional regulatory sequences can be found) of genes of interest. Using a clever CRISPR/Cas9 “toolkit”, the authors produced phenotypic variation in developmental genes that influence final yields, all  without carrying any transgene in the final new crop variant. This method sets an exciting future for crop breeding. (Summary by Gaby Auge)  Cell 10.1016/j.cell.2017.08.030

Browse the rest of this week’s featured articles.