Scientists use gene editing technology to regulate the frequency of genetic recombination in rice

Rice Photo courtesy of interviewee

Recently, the team of Wang Kejian, a researcher at the China Rice Research Institute, published a research paper online in Plant Communications. In this study, CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology was used to edit the transcriptional regulatory region of HEI10, a key gene for rice recombination. The results show that the positive and negative regulation of genetic recombination can be achieved by editing the transcriptional regulatory regions of a single recombinant key gene, which provides an important theoretical basis and technical support for accelerating the cultivation of new varieties and shortening the breeding cycle.

Wang Kejian introduced that genetic recombination is one of the main sources of genetic diversity in the process of animal and plant genetic breeding, and its specificity occurs in the meiotic period of reproductive development. Increasing the frequency of genetic recombination can increase genetic diversity and promote the creation of new combinations; The reduction of the recombination frequency can maintain the stability of the polymerized excellent traits.

In addition, the complete disappearance of genetic recombination can even be used to achieve fixed and stable inheritance of heterogeneity. In most animals and plants, only 1-2 recombinations occur on each chromosome, and the location of recombination is strictly limited. So far, numerous genes that regulate genetic recombination have been cloned in different species. However, mutant plants of these genes often exhibit a phenotype with severely reduced fruiting rates or even complete sterility, limiting the use of the associated mutants in genetic breeding.

This study found that the transcriptional regulatory region of HEI10, a key gene for rice recombinant, was edited by CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology, and different allele plants not only ensured the normal separation of chromosomes during meiosis, but also retained a high setting rate. At the same time, the frequency of genetic recombination in mutant plants also increased or decreased to varying degrees.

The study revealed that positive and negative regulation of rice genetic recombination can be achieved by editing individual key genes. Studies have shown that a large number of genes are involved in the formation of genetic recombination, so the researchers propose that by simultaneously editing more key genes, it is expected to achieve greater regulation of genetic recombination. In addition, because the genetic recombination process is more conservative in different animals and plants, this research idea is also expected to be applied to the theoretical research and new variety cultivation of other animals and plants.

Dr. Wei Xin and Associate Professor Liu Qing of China Rice Research Institute are co-first authors of the paper, and Wang Kejian is the corresponding author of the paper. The research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Science and Technology Innovation Project of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and the Yazhou Bay Seed Laboratory of Hainan Province. (Source: Li Chen, China Science News)

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