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A New Class 2 CRISPR System Helps to Realize Multiplex Gene Editing in Rice

Apr 19, 2017     Email"> PrintText Size

Multiplex gene editing provides a powerful tool for targeting members of multigene families. Although previous studies have shown that multiplex gene editing in plants is possible with CRISPR-Cas9, the Cas9 system requires large constructs to express multiple sgRNA cassettes, which are more laborious to construct and could cause unstability and reduce transformation efficiency.

Cpf1 is a dual nuclease that not only cleaves target DNA but also processes its own CRISPR RNA. A study led by Prof. ZHU Jiankang’s lab at Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology of Chinese Academy of Sciences tested FnCpf1 and LbCpf1 for single and multiplex gene editing in rice. The study was published online in Molecular Plant. 

Researchers found that both FnCpf1 and LbCpf1 with their own mature direct repeats induce mutations in transgenic plants. The LbCpf1 system gave higher editing efficiency in all six tested target sites.

Importantly, FnCpf1 and LbCpf1 also show robust activity in multiplex gene editing when expressed together with a single CRISPR array. It has been proved that FnCpf1 and LbCpf1 are functional when the direct repeat sequences of their CRISPR arrays are exchanged. 

This study demonstrated for the first time the feasibility of high efficiency multiplex gene editing in plants using engineered CRISPR-Cpf1 with a simple short DR-guide array, which significantly simplifies multiplex gene editing in plants. 

This work is supported by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. 

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(Editor: LIU Jia)

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