The CRISPR/Cas9 system for plant genome editing and beyond

Biotechnol Adv. Jan-Feb 2015;33(1):41-52. doi: 10.1016/j.biotechadv.2014.12.006. Epub 2014 Dec 20.


Targeted genome editing using artificial nucleases has the potential to accelerate basic research as well as plant breeding by providing the means to modify genomes rapidly in a precise and predictable manner. Here we describe the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9) system, a recently developed tool for the introduction of site-specific double-stranded DNA breaks. We highlight the strengths and weaknesses of this technology compared with two well-established genome editing platforms: zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs) and transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs). We summarize recent results obtained in plants using CRISPR/Cas9 technology, discuss possible applications in plant breeding and consider potential future developments.

Keywords: CRISPR; Cas9; Gene targeting; Genome editing; Plants; Site-specific nuclease; Targeted mutagenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • CRISPR-Cas Systems*
  • DNA Breaks, Double-Stranded
  • Deoxyribonucleases / genetics
  • Deoxyribonucleases / metabolism
  • Gene Targeting
  • Genetic Engineering / methods*
  • Genome, Plant*
  • Plants / genetics
  • Plants, Genetically Modified*
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Zinc Fingers


  • Deoxyribonucleases