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Plant molecular engineering is the modification of plants or plant material to produce novel compounds, or to improve the efficiency of beneficial products. Major challenges include the production of crop plants with increased nutritional value.
Targeted homologous recombination between parental chromosomes could facilitate precision breeding of crop plants. Here, Filler Hayut et al. show that CRISPR-Cas9 can be used to induce DNA double strand breaks in somatic tissue and achieve targeted recombination between homologs at an endogenous locus in tomato.
The time of flowering is important in crop production. Rice has now been genetically engineered to respond to agrochemical spraying, which results in floral induction. This research offers new perspectives to control the phenological development of crops in the field.
The novel features of the CRISPR–Cpf1 RNA-guided endonuclease system facilitate precise and efficient genome engineering. Application of CRISPR–Cpf1 in plants shows promise for robust gene editing and regulation, opening exciting possibilities for targeted trait improvement in crops.
A straightforward approach reveals the full cholesterol biosynthetic pathway in tomato, which is composed of ten enzymatic steps, opening the door for bioengineering of high-value molecules in crops. Phylogenetic analysis suggests that cholesterogenesis evolved from the more ancient phytosterol pathway.
The mechanism for T-DNA integration, a critical step of Agrobacterium-mediated transgenesis, remains poorly understood. Now, a study based on mutant analysis shows that Pol θ controls T-DNA integration and generates error-prone footprints at integration sites.