Plant viruses such as the members of class geminiviridae cause in major
losses in crop yield and revenue. Unfortunately, techniques such as
pathogen-derived resistance and RNA interference showed low rates of
success. With increasing developments in the usage of CRISPR-Cas9
technology, researcher Caixia Gao from the University of Chinese Academy of
Sciences and colleagues take advantage of this technique to confer virus
resistance in plants.
In their study published in BMC Genome Biology, the researchers first
determined the effect of off-target mutations on plant virus resistance and
further construct two virus-inducible CRISPR/Cas9 vectors to stop the
accumulation of beet severe curly top virus (BSCTV) in tobacco and
Arabidopsis through stable and transient expressions. Results showed no
detectable off-target mutations caused by the developed genome editing
system. The authors end by recommending the technique to be used on crops.