Rapid improvement of domestication traits in an orphan crop by genome editing (Nature Plants – $) 

Orphan crops, like groundcherry (Physalis pruinosa), are regionally important but are not grown on large commercial scale as they never went through a breeding cycle. Precision gene editing techniques, such as CRISPR/Cas9, can alter the most important agronomic traits in relatively short time. Lemmon et al. targeted the Physalis orthologues of tomato self-pruning genes and CLAVATA peptide, using a tissue transformation protocol adapted from tomato. Targeting those domestication genes resulted in more compact plant architecture and increased yield due to higher number of fruit branches as well as larger fruit size. The success of similar approaches in other orphan crops, including teff, amaranth and cowpea, is likely to depend on the efficient transformation methods. (Summary by Magdalena Julkowska) Nat. Plants 10.1038/s41477-018-0259-x