Genome editing has drawn much attention of scientists and breeders to
address the growing need for food security globally. Since 2013,
publications talking about CRISPR-Cas-based genome editing has been growing.
This technology has been applied in crops including horticultural ones.
In a review paper, researcher Alessandra Koltun from State University of
Maringa in Brazil and colleagues evaluate the applicability of CRISPR-Cas
systems in horticultural crops, such as fruits, vegetables, flowers, and
medicinal and aromatic plants. In the paper, the authors comprehensively
describe how CRISPR-Cas work and is used in breeding. They enumerate crops
in which gene editing has been applied. These crops and traits include dwarf
cabbage, blocked purple color carrot, biotic stress-resistant cucumber,
reduced amylose potato, faster growing strawberry, delayed ripening tomato,
and albino watermelon. They particularly mentioned that these developed
crops are modified, but transgene-free, a trait important in considering
whether or not to regulate the commercialization of these crops. In potato,
eliminating transgene components is more difficult because of its complex
genome. Thus, the authors also mentioned the usage of protoplasts or
ribonucleoproteins to overcome this limitation. Finally, they stated that
gene editing holds promise for horticultural crops, but testing the
applicability of the technology in other crops is still needed.