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New tool enables faster, more cost-effective genome editing of traits to improve agriculture sustainability
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: July 08, 2024 09:19AM

A recent study published in Nature reveals a technology designed to enhance
the efficiency of plant gene editing called Transposase-Assisted Target Site
Integration (TATSI). This method used transposable elements to integrate
custom DNA into specific locations in plant genomes. By improving the
precision and frequency of DNA integration, TATSI aims to make the
production of genetically enhanced crops faster and more cost-effective.

This study aimed to tackle one of the major challenges in crop
improvement-inefficient and error-prone insertion of foreign DNA into plant
genomes. While the CRISPR-Cas system can edit DNA with precision, it
struggles with accurately adding custom DNA at these edited sites. With
this, the researchers combined the "scissors" function of CRISPR-Cas with
the natural "glue" capability of transposable elements to boost the rate of
targeted DNA integration.

Slotkin's lab research has been utilizing transposable elements, which
comprise over 70% corn genome, for crop improvement. The funding and
investment from the Danforth Center US National Science Foundation (NSF)
have resulted in prototypes and pre-commercial development. "Born out of the
Big Ideas 2.0 competition, this project changed the course of the research
we're doing today and into the future. It is a real testament to the broader
'focus-on-impact' attitude of the Danforth Center," said Keith Slotkin, PhD,
a professor at the University of Missouri, Columbia.


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