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New breeding technique “genome editing” for crop improvement: applications, potentials and challenges

Aglawe, Supriya B., Barbadikar, Kalyani M., Mangrauthia, Satendra K., Madhav, M. Sheshu
3 Biotech 2018 v.8 no.8 pp. 336
breeding methods, crops, forage, gene editing, genes, hosts, nucleases, plant breeding, transgenesis, zinc finger motif
Crop improvement is a continuous process in agriculture which ensures ample supply of food, fodder and fiber to burgeoning world population. Despite tremendous success in plant breeding and transgenesis to improve the yield-related traits, there have been several limitations primarily with the specificity in genetic modifications and incompatibility of host species. Because of this, new breeding techniques (NBTs) are gaining worldwide attention for crop improvement programs. Among the NBTs, genome editing (GE) using site-directed nucleases (SDNs) is an important and potential technique that overcomes limitations associated with classical breeding and transgenesis. These SDNs specifically target a compatible region in the gene/genome. The meganucleases (MgN), zinc finger nucleases (ZFN), transcription activator-like effectors nucleases (TALENs), and clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and CRISPR-associated endonuclease (Cas) are being successfully employed for GE. These can be used for desired or targeted modifications of the native endogenous gene(s) or targeted insertion of cis/trans elements in the genomes of recipient organisms. Applications of these techniques appear to be endless ever since their discovery and several modifications in original technologies have further brought precision and accuracy in these methods. In this review, we present an overview of GE using SDNs with an emphasis on CRISPR/Cas system, their advantages, limitations and also practical considerations while designing experiments have been discussed. The review also emphasizes on the possible applications of CRISPR for improving economic traits in crop plants.