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The male-sterile ms2 mutant has facilitated commercial production of wheat for over 40 years. Here, Xia et al. map Ms2 and describe how a retrotransposon insertion event in the regulatory element of an orphan gene is associated with expression in anthers and development of male sterility.
A long and almost uncrossable distance separates fundamental plant research carried out predominantly in rich countries, and the production of better crops in the fields of poor farmers from developing regions. A unique network of international organizations involved in global agriculture helps bridge that chasm.
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.