Heritable site-specific mutagenesis using TALENs in maize

Plant Biotechnol J. 2015 Sep;13(7):1002-10. doi: 10.1111/pbi.12344. Epub 2015 Feb 3.


Transcription activator-like effector nuclease (TALEN) technology has been utilized widely for targeted gene mutagenesis, especially for gene inactivation, in many organisms, including agriculturally important plants such as rice, wheat, tomato and barley. This report describes application of this technology to generate heritable genome modifications in maize. TALENs were employed to generate stable, heritable mutations at the maize glossy2 (gl2) locus. Transgenic lines containing mono- or di-allelic mutations were obtained from the maize genotype Hi-II at a frequency of about 10% (nine mutated events in 91 transgenic events). In addition, three of the novel alleles were tested for function in progeny seedlings, where they were able to confer the glossy phenotype. In a majority of the events, the integrated TALEN T-DNA segregated independently from the new loss of function alleles, producing mutated null-segregant progeny in T1 generation. Our results demonstrate that TALENs are an effective tool for genome mutagenesis in maize, empowering the discovery of gene function and the development of trait improvement.

Keywords: Glossy2; TAL effector nuclease; gene editing; maize; targeted mutagenesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Zea mays / genetics*


  • Plant Proteins