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A CRISPR way for accelerating improvement of food crops


CRISPR technology, which is widely used for plant genome editing, will accelerate the breeding of food crops beyond what was imaginable before its development. Here we provide a brief overview of CRISPR technology, its most important applications for crop improvement and several technological breakthroughs. We also make predictions of the applications of CRISPR technology to food crops, which we believe would provide the potential for synthetic biology and domestication of crops. We also discuss the implications of regulatory policy for deployment of the technology in the developing world.

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Fig. 1: CRISPR technology used for plant genome editing.
Fig. 2: Accelerated domestication of wild plants could broaden the diversity of food crops.

Blickwinkel / Alamy Stock Photo (a); Bilder ur Nordens Flora, Stockholm (b); David Cobb / Alamy Stock Photo (c); DE AGOSTINI PICTURE LIBRARY // gettyimages (d)


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We apologize to those colleagues whose work was not cited due to restrictions on the number of references. C.G. was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 31788103) and the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Precision Seed Design and Breeding, grant no. XDA24000000), Y.Z. and M. Pribil by the Innovation Fund Denmark grant no. 8055-00038A, and M. Palmgren by the Novo Nordisk Foundation Challenge grant no. NNF19OC005658.

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Y.Z. drafted the first version of the manuscript. M. Pribil revised the manuscript, and C.G. and M. Palmgren designed and revised the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Michael Palmgren or Caixia Gao.

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Zhang, Y., Pribil, M., Palmgren, M. et al. A CRISPR way for accelerating improvement of food crops. Nat Food 1, 200–205 (2020).

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