University of Kiel researchers and partners used CRISPR-Cas9 to edit three genes in oilseed rape to reduce phytic acid in seeds. The results are published in Plant Biotechnology journal.

Phytic acid is a main source of phosphorus in plants but is considered as anti-nutritive for mono-gastric animals including humans because of its adverse effects on essential mineral absorption. Furthermore, undigested phytic acid causes algal bloom on bodies of water, harming aquatic life. To reduce phytic acid in oilseed rape, the researchers knocked out three functional gene copies of BnITPK, which are involved in the production of phytic acid in plants. Through CRISPR-Cas9 mutagenesis, low phytic acid mutants were obtained which also had significant increase of free phosphorus.

 

Based on the results, the techniques used could be adopted in rapeseed breeding to increase protein value with no adverse effects on oil contents.

 

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