Nature plants review explores the current state and future of CRISPR technology in crops
Phys.org - Tue 16 Jul 01:13 GMT

CRISPR is often thought of as "molecular scissors" used for precision breeding to cut DNA so that a certain trait can be removed, replaced, or edited, but Yiping Qi, assistant professor in Plant Science & Landscape Architecture at the University of Maryland, …

  CRISPR is often thought of as 'molecular scissors' used for precision breeding to cut DNA so that a certain trait can be removed, replaced, or edited, but Yiping Qi, assistant professor in Plant Science Landscape Architecture at the University of Maryland, is looking far beyond these traditional applications in his latest publication in Nature Plants.

  Credit: National Institutes of Health, public domain CRISPR is often thought of as "molecular scissors" used for precision breeding to cut DNA so that a certain trait can be removed, replaced, or edited, but Yiping Qi, assistant professor in Plant Science Landscape Architecture at the University of Maryland, is looking far beyond these traditional applications in his latest publication in Nature Plants.

  In this comprehensive review, Qi and coauthors in his lab explore the current state of CRISPR in crops, and how scientists can use CRISPR to enhance traditional breeding techniques in nontraditional ways, with the goal of ensuring global food and nutritional security and feeding a growing population in the face of climate change, diseases, and pests.

  With this new paper, Qi highlights recent achievements in applying CRISPR to crop breeding and ways in which these tools have been combined with other breeding methods to achieve goals that may not have been possible in the past.

  Qi's lab has published multiple original research papers this year that highlight some of the differences for CRISPR applications in human and plant cells.

  "Human cells are always maintained at higher temperature which may be optimal for CRISPR to work, but is pretty hot for plants," says Qi.

  Qi also published the first ever book dedicated entirely to Plant Genome Editing with CRISPR Systems, highlighting cutting-edge methods and protocols for working with CRISPR in a variety of crops.