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A Focus On Genome Engineering And Plant Microbiomes

CRISPR, Gene Editing, Plant Genomics, Microbiome, Genetic Engineer

Genetic and microbial engineering have shown to be key influencers on plant health. Discoveries in this field can help farmers to reduce reliance on agricultural chemicals and develop novel engineered crops which can better cope with climate change effects. We gathered some of the most interesting presentation slides on these topics presented by experts during the 5th Plant Genomics and Gene Editing Congress.

CRISPR Is on The Move: Genome Editing From Rice To Wheat

Genome editing technologies such as CRISPR/Cas9 are based on the production of double strand breaks at specific DNA sites triggering, as consequence, the DNA repairing system [1]. Nevertheless, CRISPR applications success in rice is not equalled in wheat, as CRISPR/Cas9 efficiency requires a time consuming downstream identification of the genome edited plants. At Rothamsted Research UK, Dr Martignago is investigating how to produce wheat lines constitutively expressing a wheat-optimised Cas9. View the presentation slides here.

Rapid Gene Cloning in Plants

Large genomes such as barley and wheat often impose significant barriers to gene cloning in crops and crop wild relatives [2]. The molecular cloning of genes highlighting genetic variation in wild ancestor of domesticated crops is opening new precision-deployment possibilities in gene editing. In this presentation, Dr Wulff of the John Innes Centre depicts a series of case studies in cereal crops and related technologies which can contribute to overcoming these barriers and improving gene cloning. View the presentation slides here.

Modulating Stomatal Activity For Water Use Efficiency And Stress Tolerance

Drought in agriculture is certainly the most worrying threat coming from climate change, as more than 70% of available water is used in crop production. It is therefore necessary to develop new crops able to develop and grow in an environment with high water deficiency to sustain food security and safety for the fast-growing population. At the University of Milan, Professor Tonelli is investigating the improvements of crop yield in drought conditions through target-specific genetic engineering for modulation of stomatal dynamics. View the presentation slides here.

The Role Of Small RNAs Regulatory Networks In Tolerance – Linking Developmental And Immune Signalling In Potato

Potato virus Y is referred to as the most economically important potato viral pathogen worldwide. Nevertheless, symptoms occurring in potato plants inoculated with the virus are still not fully comprehended [3]. In trying to answer this question, Professor Gruden research at the NIB Slovenia, revealed the roles of miRNAs in the complex immune signalling network linked to defence response and which can make plants tolerant to viral infections. View the presentation slides here.

If you’ve found this interesting, there’s still time to register for the 2nd Partnerships in Biocontrol, Biostimulants & Microbiome Congress.


  1. Martignago, D. (2017). CRISPR/Cas9 technology In Rice And Wheat.
  2. Sánchez-Martín, J., Steuernagel, B., Ghosh, S., Herren, G., Hurni, S., Adamski, N., Vrána, J., Kubaláková, M., Krattinger, S.G., Wicker, T. and Doležel, J. (2016). Rapid gene isolation in barley and wheat by mutant chromosome sequencing. Genome Biology 17 (1), 221.
  3. Kogovšek, P., Pompe-Novak, M., Petek, M., Fragner, L., Weckwerth, W. and Gruden, K. (2016). Primary metabolism, phenylpropanoids and antioxidant pathways are regulated in potato as a response to potato virus Y infection. PloS one 11 (1), e0146135.

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