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      Can gene editing reduce postharvest waste and loss of fruit, vegetables, and ornamentals?


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          Postharvest waste and loss of horticultural crops exacerbates the agricultural problems facing humankind and will continue to do so in the next decade. Fruits and vegetables provide us with a vast spectrum of healthful nutrients, and along with ornamentals, enrich our lives with a wide array of pleasant sensory experiences. These commodities are, however, highly perishable. Approximately 33% of the produce that is harvested is never consumed since these products naturally have a short shelf-life, which leads to postharvest loss and waste. This loss, however, could be reduced by breeding new crops that retain desirable traits and accrue less damage over the course of long supply chains. New gene-editing tools promise the rapid and inexpensive production of new varieties of crops with enhanced traits more easily than was previously possible. Our aim in this review is to critically evaluate gene editing as a tool to modify the biological pathways that determine fruit, vegetable, and ornamental quality, especially after storage. We provide brief and accessible overviews of both the CRISPR–Cas9 method and the produce supply chain. Next, we survey the literature of the last 30 years, to catalog genes that control or regulate quality or senescence traits that are “ripe” for gene editing. Finally, we discuss barriers to implementing gene editing for postharvest, from the limitations of experimental methods to international policy. We conclude that in spite of the hurdles that remain, gene editing of produce and ornamentals will likely have a measurable impact on reducing postharvest loss and waste in the next 5–10 years.

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          A programmable dual-RNA-guided DNA endonuclease in adaptive bacterial immunity.

          Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated (Cas) systems provide bacteria and archaea with adaptive immunity against viruses and plasmids by using CRISPR RNAs (crRNAs) to guide the silencing of invading nucleic acids. We show here that in a subset of these systems, the mature crRNA that is base-paired to trans-activating crRNA (tracrRNA) forms a two-RNA structure that directs the CRISPR-associated protein Cas9 to introduce double-stranded (ds) breaks in target DNA. At sites complementary to the crRNA-guide sequence, the Cas9 HNH nuclease domain cleaves the complementary strand, whereas the Cas9 RuvC-like domain cleaves the noncomplementary strand. The dual-tracrRNA:crRNA, when engineered as a single RNA chimera, also directs sequence-specific Cas9 dsDNA cleavage. Our study reveals a family of endonucleases that use dual-RNAs for site-specific DNA cleavage and highlights the potential to exploit the system for RNA-programmable genome editing.
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            Development and applications of CRISPR-Cas9 for genome engineering.

            Recent advances in genome engineering technologies based on the CRISPR-associated RNA-guided endonuclease Cas9 are enabling the systematic interrogation of mammalian genome function. Analogous to the search function in modern word processors, Cas9 can be guided to specific locations within complex genomes by a short RNA search string. Using this system, DNA sequences within the endogenous genome and their functional outputs are now easily edited or modulated in virtually any organism of choice. Cas9-mediated genetic perturbation is simple and scalable, empowering researchers to elucidate the functional organization of the genome at the systems level and establish causal linkages between genetic variations and biological phenotypes. In this Review, we describe the development and applications of Cas9 for a variety of research or translational applications while highlighting challenges as well as future directions. Derived from a remarkable microbial defense system, Cas9 is driving innovative applications from basic biology to biotechnology and medicine. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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              CRISPR/Cas Genome Editing and Precision Plant Breeding in Agriculture

              Enhanced agricultural production through innovative breeding technology is urgently needed to increase access to nutritious foods worldwide. Recent advances in CRISPR/Cas genome editing enable efficient targeted modification in most crops, thus promising to accelerate crop improvement. Here, we review advances in CRISPR/Cas9 and its variants and examine their applications in plant genome editing and related manipulations. We highlight base-editing tools that enable targeted nucleotide substitutions and describe the various delivery systems, particularly DNA-free methods, that have linked genome editing with crop breeding. We summarize the applications of genome editing for trait improvement, development of techniques for fine-tuning gene regulation, strategies for breeding virus resistance, and the use of high-throughput mutant libraries. We outline future perspectives for genome editing in plant synthetic biology and domestication, advances in delivery systems, editing specificity, homology-directed repair, and gene drives. Finally, we discuss the challenges and opportunities for precision plant breeding and its bright future in agriculture.

                Author and article information

                Hortic Res
                Hortic Res
                Horticulture Research
                Nature Publishing Group UK (London )
                1 January 2021
                1 January 2021
                : 8
                : 1
                [1 ]GRID grid.27860.3b, ISNI 0000 0004 1936 9684, Department of Plant Sciences, , University of California, ; Davis, CA 95616 USA
                [2 ]GRID grid.27860.3b, ISNI 0000 0004 1936 9684, Plant Biology Graduate Group, , University of California, ; Davis, CA 95616 USA
                [3 ]GRID grid.27860.3b, ISNI 0000 0004 1936 9684, Graduate Group of Horticulture & Agronomy, , University of California, ; Davis, CA 95616 USA
                [4 ]GRID grid.5380.e, ISNI 0000 0001 2298 9663, Departamento de Produccion Vegetal, , Universidad de Concepcion, Region del BioBio, ; Concepcion, Chile
                Author information
                © The Author(s) 2020

                Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                : 23 July 2020
                : 19 October 2020
                : 22 October 2020
                Review Article
                Custom metadata
                © The Author(s) 2021

                molecular engineering in plants
                molecular engineering in plants


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