Researchers have developed a rain-resistant wheat variety using the
CRISPR-Cas9 system. This breakthrough could lead to the development of
better-quality flour. The study was published in Cell Reports.
Researchers from the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization
(NARO) and Okayama University said that genome editing helped them develop
the new wheat variety in just about a year. Such development used to take
about 10 years using conventional breeding techniques.
Using Agrobacterium-mediated CRISPR-Cas9, the team developed wheat lines
with dysfunctional Qsd1, which regulates seed dormancy or sprouting. Eight
transformed events were produced, and one mutant showed promising
characteristics, which was then crossed with a wild-type variety (Fielder)
to come up with a transgene-free mutant. The resulting plants were watered
for one week and only 20-30 percent sprouted, while almost all the ordinary
wheat seeds exposed to the same conditions had sprouts.
The findings show that the technique could be used as a model for trait
improvement in wheat.