The expanding footprint of CRISPR/Cas9 in the plant sciences

Plant Cell Rep. 2016 Jul;35(7):1451-68. doi: 10.1007/s00299-016-1987-x. Epub 2016 Apr 30.


CRISPR/Cas9 has evolved and transformed the field of biology at an unprecedented pace. From the initial purpose of introducing a site specific mutation within a genome of choice, this technology has morphed into enabling a wide array of molecular applications, including site-specific transgene insertion and multiplexing for the simultaneous induction of multiple cleavage events. Efficiency, specificity, and flexibility are key attributes that have solidified CRISPR/Cas9 as the genome-editing tool of choice by scientists from all areas of biology. Within the field of plant biology, several CRISPR/Cas9 technologies, developed in other biological systems, have been successfully implemented to probe plant gene function and to modify specific crop traits. It is anticipated that this trend will persist and lead to the development of new applications and modifications of the CRISPR technology, adding to an ever-expanding collection of genome-editing tools. We envision that these tools will bestow plant researchers with new utilities to alter genome complexity, engineer site-specific integration events, control gene expression, generate transgene-free edited crops, and prevent or cure plant viral disease. The successful implementation of such utilities will represent a new frontier in plant biotechnology.

Keywords: CRISPR; Cas9; Crop improvement; Functional genomics; Gene editing; Gene knock-in.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • CRISPR-Cas Systems*
  • Forecasting
  • Gene Editing / methods*
  • Gene Editing / trends
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genes, Plant / genetics
  • Genetic Engineering / methods*
  • Genetic Engineering / trends
  • Models, Genetic
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed / methods
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed / trends
  • Plants / genetics*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified