One of the popular genome editing technologies used in plants is the Zinc
Finger Nuclease (ZFN), which are proteins composed of a zinc finger-based
DNA binding domain and a DNA cleavage domain. The team of Yu-Jin Jung of the
Hankyong National University in South Korea used ZFNs to target SSIVa, a
soluble starch synthase involved in starch biosynthesis pathway.
The team used ZFN-mediated targeted gene disruption on the SSIVa rice gene
in order to study the role of the gene. Analysis of the edited plants
revealed the absence of SSIVa mRNAs as well as low starch contents and dwarf
phenotypes. Interestingly, the analysis also showed that SSIVa had no effect
on other starch synthesis related genes since their expressions remained the
same with the wildtype levels.
Therefore, the engineered ZFNs induced mutations at SSIVa locus in rice
resulting in changes in plant height and starch content.