Precise gene replacement in rice by RNA transcript-templated homologous recombination
© Jose A. Bernat Bacete/Getty
A new method takes advantage of RNA-processing enzymes to produce templates in the nucleus of a plant cell to guide gene editing.
One of the approaches used to edit genes is to cut a cell’s DNA within the gene’s sequence and provide a template carrying the desired edits. If the cell uses the template when it repairs the cut in its DNA, the edits get incorporated into the genome. However, delivering the template into the nucleus of plant cells has proven difficult, making targeted gene editing a continuing challenge for plant biologists.
To overcome this, a team led by researchers at Huazhong Agricultural University in China tried using an RNA template instead. They designed a molecular complex combining enzymes and RNA molecules, including the template sequence. Once inside the cell, the complex self-processes through the action of the enzymes, releasing the RNA template inside the nucleus to guide DNA repair.
- Nature Biotechnology 37, 445–450 (2019). doi: 10.1038/s41587-019-0065-7