Semin Cell Dev Biol 2019 Apr 19. Epub 2019 Apr 19.
Shanghai Center for Plant Stress Biology, Center for Excellence in Molecular Plant Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, 200032, China. Electronic address:
The past decade has witnessed unprecedented development in genome engineering, a process that enables targeted modification of genomes. The identification of sequence-specific nucleases such as zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs), transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) and the CRISPR/Cas system, in particular, has led to precise and efficient introduction of genetic variations into genomes of various organisms. Since the CRISPR/Cas system is highly versatile, cost-effective and much superior to ZFNs and TALENs, its widespread adoption by the research community has been inevitable. In plants, a number of studies have shown that CRISPR/Cas could be a potential tool in basic research where insertion, deletion and/or substitution in the genetic sequence could help answer fundamental questions about plant processes, and in applied research these technologies could help build or reverse-engineer plant systems to make them more useful. In this review article, we summarize technologies for precise editing of genomes with a special focus on the CRISPR/Cas system, highlight the latest developments in the CRISPR/Cas system and discuss the challenges and prospects in using the system for plant biology research.