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CRISPR–Cas9-mediated 75.5-Mb inversion in maize


CRISPR–Cas is a powerful double-strand-break technology with wide-ranging applications from gene discovery to commercial product development. Thus far, this tool has been almost exclusively used for gene knockouts and deletions, with a few examples of gene edits and targeted gene insertions. Here, we demonstrate the application of CRISPR–Cas9 technology to mediate targeted 75.5-Mb pericentric inversion in chromosome 2 in one of the elite maize inbred lines from Corteva Agriscience. This inversion unlocks a large chromosomal region containing substantial genetic variance for recombination, thus providing opportunities for the development of new maize varieties with improved phenotypes.

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Fig. 1: Chromosome 2 pan-genome assembly comparison in 66 maize lines.
Fig. 2: Schematic illustration of the hypothetical mechanism of pericentric inversion.
Fig. 3: T0 plant analysis.

Data availability

The authors declare that the data supporting the findings are available within the paper or are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request. Corteva Agriscience will provide plasmids to academic investigators for non-commercial research under an applicable material transfer agreement subject to proof of permission from any third-party owners of all or parts of the material and to governmental regulation considerations. Completion of a stewardship plan is also required. The Corteva Agriscience inbred line PH1V5T described in this research is proprietary.


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We thank G. St Clair, S. Jones and A. Ulm for assistance with the transformation experiments, M. Yang for help with the molecular analysis of T1 progeny, T. Engelhart for cultivation of the plants in the greenhouse, and M. Fedorova, J. Gerke and W. Gordon-Kamm for critical reading of the manuscript.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



S.S. conceived the project, and C.S., K.F. and S.S designed the experiments. C.S., P.B., L.F. and B.L. conducted the experiments and V.L. performed the Bionano analysis. C.S., B.L., P.B. and S.S. analysed the data. K.F., V.L., P.B. and S.S. wrote the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sergei Svitashev.

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Competing interests

All authors are employed by Corteva Agriscience.

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Peer review information Nature Plants thanks Kan Wang, Lanqin Xia and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Schwartz, C., Lenderts, B., Feigenbutz, L. et al. CRISPR–Cas9-mediated 75.5-Mb inversion in maize. Nat. Plants 6, 1427–1431 (2020).

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