CRISPR is a second-generation genome-editing tool that proved to have
advantages over first-generation tools such as zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs)
and transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs). After five
years since the technology was discovered, scientists from India review the
progress of using CRISPR for crop improvement.
The paper tackles the reasons behind the time- and cost-effectivity of
CRISPR compared with other genome-editing tools. The review also touched on
the improvements made in the Cas9 enzyme to improve its specificity and
reduce off-target cleavage. They also mentioned the discovery of CRISPR-Cpf1
and described Addgene, which is the global repository for plasmids that
researchers can use to target specific genes of interest.
The progress in using CRISPR to improve important traits in crops such as
rice, wheat, maize, arabidopsis, cotton, soybean, tomato, potato, citrus,
and grape was also discussed. It was concluded that CRISPR-edited crops has
the potential to pave the way to better food security.