Researchers from the Purdue University teamed up with the scientists from the Academy of Sciences of China to employ CRISPR gene-editing tool in order to produce genetically modified rice plants with higher productivity. Thus, the researchers have used CRISPR/Cas 9 to generate mutations in 13 genes of regular rice plants.
The results were genetically modified rice plants with about 25-31% higher productivity.
Scientists aimed to influence the effects of abscisic acid phytohormone
The abscisic acid phytohormone is known for its role in plants’ stress tolerance and growth suppression and that’s why the researchers decided to generated mutations in 13 rice plants genes related to this phytohormone.
A few genetically modified rice plants have been created and field tested by the researchers. Among them, there was a rice plant that showed no difference in stress tolerance but showed increased productivity by about 25% in a field test in Shanghai and about 31% in a second field test in China’s Hainan Island.
The study’s report has been published last week in the PNAS journal (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).
CRISPR / Cas 9 gene-editing tools permitted scientists to edit more rice plants genes at once
CRISPR / Cas9 technology permits researchers to swiftly and precisely remove portions of DNA from a DNA sequence and to edit the DNA code.
This approach permitted the scientists to modify several genes at once, a task that might have taken years with the use of conventional methods but with no certainty that the resulting rice plants would possess the intended properties.
The team of scientists muted the Pyroabactin 1 resistance (PYR1) and regulator components of the ABA receptor genes (ACAR), or simply, PYL genes, involved in increasing the tolerance to abiotic stress, including drought, the salinity of the soil as well as many other ecosystem-related factors, but also in suppressing growth.
Researchers noticed that cutting off the PYL genes will not influence the stress tolerance or growth. However, modifying only some PYL genes, scientists managed to cut off the growth inhibitor, therefore, the newly created genetically modified rice plants presented a higher productivity.
Erin VanDyke lives on her family farm and has more than 35 years of hands-on experience with the use of livestock guard dogs for predator control. On their farm, Jan and her family use corgis as herding dogs and have raised Shetland sheep, Fainting goats, Morgan and Trakehner horses, and historic breeds of chickens and turkeys. Erin is also an active beekeeper.