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CRISPR-edited Sugarcane Reduces Environmental Impact

Jul, 2021

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A new research study was conducted to have new varieties of sugarcane by using CRISPR gene-editing methodology, which reduces the impact of traditional methods of sugarcane cultivation on environment.

Sugarcane is one of the most important foods that have variety of usage; however it takes a lot of efforts for their cultivation. Sugarcane cultivation requires a huge amount of water, a large piece of farmland that may leads to deforestation, and it also creates pollution and plenty of waste during processing. It is difficult and time-consuming to crossbreed new varieties of sugarcane due to its complex genome structure. However, researchers recently came up with CRISPR gene-editing methodology for convenient cultivation of sugarcane. CRISPR gene-editing is a powerful tool where scientists switched off or cut out and substitute them with other ones.

CRISPR gene-editing was successfully used by researchers to develop new varieties of sugarcane. Scientists targeted on the multiple regions of sugarcane to make useful edits due to many redundant copies of sugarcane genes and complex genome with several chromosomes. In the first study, researchers identified and separated various gene copies that produces an enzyme called magnesium chelatase. Plants produce chlorophyll due to this enzyme, which turns the leaves into light green or yellow colour. The same amount of biomass is produced by both, whereas green ones require less nitrogen fertilizer to grow. The second study was carried out to give protection to the sugarcane from herbicides by replacing individual nucleotides with its better versions.

Researchers stated that, CRISPR gene-editing is an effective methodology to breed new useful varieties of sugarcane conveniently. It is also eco-friendly method and addresses a number of environmental concerns. Mr. Fredy Altpeter, lead researcher on the two studies of CRISPR gene-editing, conveyed that sugarcane is the ideal crop that could thrive the emerging bioeconomy and gene-editing is a very credible tool to modify sugarcane that is sustainable and gives higher productivity of sugarcane.

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