Newswise — Traditional genome editing techniques encounter significant challenges in vegetatively propagated crops like grapes. Current transformation methods exhibit low efficiency and face difficulties in achieving stable plant regeneration across diverse grape varieties. Based on these challenges, there is a need for a more efficient and broadly applicable genome editing method to advance grape breeding and improvement efforts.

Scientists at the University of California, Davis, have made a significant advancement in agricultural biotechnology. Their research (DOI: 10.1093/hr/uhad266), published on December 13, 2023, in Horticulture Research, introduces an innovative protocol for genome editing in Vitis species, allowing for the creation of non-chimeric and transgene-free plants through protoplast culture.
Armed with CRISPR-Cas9, the research cohort has adeptly edited the genomes of a diverse array of grape cultivars. The encapsulation of protoplasts in calcium alginate beads, followed by co-culturing with feeder cells, has led to robust plant regeneration. The method has demonstrated its efficacy across a variety of grapes, from Thompson Seedless to Chardonnay, Colombard, and Merlot. The protocol commences with the isolation of protoplasts from embryogenic callus cultures, proceeds with their encapsulation in alginate beads, and employs co-cultivation with feeder cells to induce division and callus formation. These callus colonies, once matured, are shifted to germination media, evolving into embryos that culminate in the development of full-grown plants. This streamlined process, condensed into a six-month cycle, markedly outpaces traditional genome editing timelines. The protocol's efficiency and dependability make it a promising candidate for real-world applications in grape cultivation and broader agricultural research.

"This study's breakthrough lies in its efficient and broadly applicable protoplast-based genome editing method. It not only enhances genome editing efficiency in grape varieties but also provides a new approach for editing other vegetatively propagated crops," said Professor David M. Tricoli from the University of California, Davis.

This innovative genome editing protocol provides a powerful tool for grape breeding and improvement, particularly in developing disease-resistant and climate-resilient varieties. The ability to rapidly produce new grape varieties with desirable traits can significantly impact the agricultural sector. Furthermore, this method's success in grapes offers valuable insights and potential applications for other vegetatively propagated crops, paving the way for advancements in plant genome editing and sustainable agriculture.





Original Source URL

Funding information

This research was financially supported by the CDFA Pierce’s Dis ease and Glassy-winged Sharpshooter Board.

About Horticulture Research

Horticulture Research is an open access journal of Nanjing Agricultural University and ranked number one in the Horticulture category of the Journal Citation Reports ™ from Clarivate, 2022. The journal is committed to publishing original research articles, reviews, perspectives, comments, correspondence articles and letters to the editor related to all major horticultural plants and disciplines, including biotechnology, breeding, cellular and molecular biology, evolution, genetics, inter-species interactions, physiology, and the origination and domestication of crops.

Journal Link: Horticulture Research