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Research team uses CRISPR/Cas9 to alter photosynthesis for the first time

Date: 12.6.2024 

A team from the Innovative Genomics Institute at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) has produced an increase in gene expression in a food crop by changing its upstream regulatory DNA.

Kredit: RIPE Project.While other studies have used CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing to knock out or decrease the expression of genes, new research published in Science Advances is the first unbiased gene-editing approach to increase gene expression and downstream photosynthetic activity.

"Tools like CRISPR/Cas9 are accelerating our ability to fine-tune gene expression in crops, rather than just knocking out genes or turning them 'off.' Past research has shown that this tool can be used to decrease expression of genes involved in important trade-offs, such as those between plant architecture and fruit size," said Dhruv Patel-Tupper, lead author on the study and former postdoctoral researcher in the Niyogi Lab at UCB.

"This is the first study, to our knowledge, where we asked if we can use the same approach to increase the expression of a gene and improve downstream activity in an unbiased way."

Unlike synthetic biology strategies that use genes from other organisms to improve photosynthesis, the genes involved in the photoprotection process are naturally found in all plants.

Image source: RIPE Project.





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