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CRISPR-1: Grapevine genome editing: development of tools and implementation of the technology

Project Number:
FShip GenUS 17-02

Project title:
CRISPR-1: Grapevine genome editing: development of tools and implementation of the technology

Project leaders:
Vivier, M & Burger, J

South African Grape and Wine Research Institute, Department of Viticulture and Oenology, Stellenbosch University and Department of Genetics, Stellenbosch University

Team members:
Young, P R
Korkie, M

Start date: 



Project is co-funded by the Department of Science and Innovation

Project description:

The immense potential of CRISPR/Cas9 technology as a genome editing tool suggests that it can be used in grapevine improvement strategies. This project aims to establish CRISPR technology in grapevine. Researchers sought to establish conventional CRISPR/Cas-based protocols for editing the grapevine genome by targeting a single-copy carotenoid gene at both the genome (DNA) and transcript (RNA) levels. The project comprises four major objectives:
– Construction of appropriate Cas9- and Cas13a-based editing vectors;
– Preparation of plant materials for genetic transformation of Nicotiana benthamiana and grapevine;
– Transformation of N. benthamiana and grapevine and regeneration of plantlets;
– Evaluation of transformants, both phenotypically and at a molecular level.

The reason for using N. benthamiana in parallel with grapevine is that it is a fast-growing herbaceous plant that is genetically well-characterised and amenable to genetic transformation. Moreover, the gene selected for optimising the genome editing system in grapevine is identical between the two species, suggesting that the editing constructs can be shared, thus saving time and money.
This project is a proof of concept study to be the foundation for further research. Researchers can potentially target economically important traits like drought tolerance and virus resistance in grapevine.

– Record end –

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