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A simple method for spray-on gene editing in planta

By Cara Doyle, Katie Higginbottom, Thomas A. Swift, Mark Winfield, Christopher Bellas, David Benito-Alifonso, Taryn Fletcher, M. Carmen Galan, Keith Edwards, Heather M. Whitney

Posted 25 Oct 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/805036

Potential innovation in Plant research using gene-edited and genetically modified plants is currently being hindered by inefficient and costly plant transformation. We show that carbon dots formed from natural materials (quasi-spherical, <10nm nanoparticles) can act as a fast vehicle for carrying plasmids into mature plant cells, resulting in transient plant transformation in a number of important crop species with no negative impacts on photosynthesis or growth. We further show that GFP, Cas9, and gRNA introduced into wheat via foliar application (spraying on) of plasmid coated carbon dots are expressed and, in the case of Cas9, make genome edits in SPO11 genes. Therefore, we present a protocol for spray-on gene editing that is simple, inexpensive, fast, transforms in planta , and is applicable to multiple crop species. We believe this technique creates many opportunities for the future of plant transformation in research and shows great promise for plant protein production systems.

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