A team of scientists from Purdue University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences has used CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology to develop a variety of rice that produces 25-31 percent more grain and would have been virtually impossible to create through traditional breeding methods.
“You couldn’t do targeted mutations like that with traditional plant breeding. You’d do random mutations and try to screen out the ones you don’t want,” professor Ray A. Bressan said. “It would have taken millions of plants. Basically, it’s not feasible. This is a real accomplishment that could not have been done without CRISPR.”
The improved rice plants created in these experiments come from a common research line. The next step is to use CRISPR-Cas9 to edit the same genes in elite varieties of rice to determine if those will also show similarly improved yield. “If this holds true for the varieties that farmers currently use, this big increase in yield would be very important,” Zhu said. “It would really help produce a lot more grains to feed more people.” [source: Purdue University]🌐