Review: CRISPR/Cas genome editing and precision plant breeding in agriculture

To fulfill global food demand in the near future, plant researchers keep pursuing simpler and faster crop breeding strategies. CRISPR/Cas systems have been developed as a powerful tool for plant genome editing. In this review, Chen et al. highlight in detail advances in CRISPR/Cas9 and its variants and how to apply these tools in crop genome editing. Here, base editing tools, which allow targeted nucleotide substitutions, are described. Various delivery systems, especially DNA-free methods, which link genome editing with crop breeding, are summarized as well. CRISPR/Cas systems can be used for precision plant breeding, such as trait improvement, enhancing virus resistance, fine-tuning gene regulation, and generating high-throughput mutant libraries. Furthermore, this review discusses the challenges and opportunities for future precision agriculture. These versatile and robust approaches bring hope to both basic plant research and crop precision breeding. 

(Summary written for Plantae, Plant Science Research Weekly)

Journal reference: Chen et al, 2019, Annu. Rev. Plant Biol.

DOI: 10.1146/annurev-arplant-050718-100049