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CRISPR’d Rice Resistant to Major Fungal Pest

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

Genome editing’s role in crop improvement is in its infancy. Though CRISPR’d mustard greens and a tomato have made headlines, using CRISPR to help feed the world has not been broadly utilized.

Rice, which is amenable to genome editing, is a staple food for half of the world. However, rice blast, caused by the fungal pathogen Magnaporthe oryzae, results in large-scale annual losses. Now, CRISPR has been used to successfully engineer broad-spectrum disease resistance in rice plants (Oryza sativa). In addition, small-scale field trials in China showed that the newly created rice variety exhibited both high yields and resistance to the fungus.

This research is published in Nature in the paper, “Genome editing of a rice CDP-DAG synthase confers multipathogen resistance.

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