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CRISPR 101: Engineering the Plant Genome Using CRISPR/Cas9

Posted by Joel McDade on Oct 11, 2016 10:30:00 AM

CRISPR has taken the genome engineering world by storm owing to its ease of use and utility in a wide variety of organisms.  While much of current CRISPR research focuses on its potential applications for human medicine (1), the potential of CRISPR for genome engineering in plants is also being realized. There are a variety of reasons to consider using genome editing to change the genetic code of plants, including the development of crops with longer shelf life and the development of disease-resistant crops to increase agricultural yield (2,3). While it is certainly possible to select for desirable traits using traditional plant breeding approaches, these techniques are cumbersome, often requiring several rounds of selection to isolate plants with the phenotype of interest. Genome engineering, on the other hand, allows for targeted modification of known or suspected genes that regulate a desired phenotype.  In fact, CRISPR has already been used to engineer the genome of many plant species, including commonly used model organisms like Arabidopsis and Medicago truncatula and several crop species including potato, corn, tomato, wheat, mushroom, and rice (4). Despite the almost universal functionality of the CRISPR system in most organisms, some plant-specific changes to CRISPR components are necessary to enable genome editing in plant cells.  

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Topics: CRISPR, Plant Biology, CRISPR 101

Editor's Choice, September 2016

Posted by Tyler Ford on Oct 7, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Read All of Our Editor's Choice Blog Posts

As I’m sitting in the San Francisco International Airport listening to the Lion King soundtrack and writing this post, it is my pleasure to announce that we once again reached new heights on the Addgene blog: we surpassed 60,000 views for the month of September! Historically we do better in September than in the summer months, but this is also our best month ever! Hats off to all of our wonderful writers and all those who have helped edit over the past couple of months. Read on to discover what new post contributed the most to this record breaking month and to find other posts that deserve a second look.

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Topics: Lab Tips, Techniques, Editor's Choice

Grad School Advice Part 2: Building Community

Posted by Tyler Ford on Oct 6, 2016 10:30:00 AM


In this second episode of our two-part series, we continue our conversation with Niroshi Senaratne and Ben Vincent from the Biological and Biomedical Sciences program at Harvard University and pick their brains on how they've managed to keep themselves happy during their time in grad school
. As you'll learn, grad school has its ups and downs for everyone but you can come out on top if you leverage your community, think hard about picking a good mentor, and begin considering career options early. Tune in for great advice on all of these topics.

Listen to Part 1 Here

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Topics: Career, Science Communication, Podcast, Mentoring for Scientists

Sequencing Options for CRISPR Genotyping

Posted by Guest Blogger on Oct 4, 2016 10:30:00 AM

This post was contributed by guest blogger Søren Hough, the Head Science Writer at Desktop Genetics.

One of the most important steps in the CRISPR experimental process is validating edits. Regardless of which CRISPR genome editing system you use, there remains a chance that the observed phenotype was caused by an off-target mutation and not an edit in the target gene.

The validation process, also known as CRISPR genotyping, is critical to demonstrating causal relationships between genotype and assayed phenotype. Verifying these connections can help alleviate the reproducibility crisis in biology. It is key to address these concerns as CRISPR use grows across the life sciences and to establish standardized validation techniques for academia, industry, and especially the clinic.

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Topics: CRISPR

Technique: Probe Phage Genomes for Host Binding Proteins

Posted by Guest Blogger on Sep 29, 2016 10:30:00 AM

This post was contributed by guest blogger, Jessica Sacher, a microbiology PhD student at the University of Alberta studying with the Szymanski lab.

Reasons to Study How a Phage Recognizes Its Host

Bacteriophages (viruses that prey on bacteria) may be the most numerous and most diverse biological entities on our planet, but we still know collectively little about how they infect and influence the evolution of their bacterial prey. Currently, receptor binding proteins (RBPs, the host recognition factors of phages) constitute one of the most popular classes of phage proteins to study. These are highly useful for the biotech industry, which is in the process of capitalizing on phage RBPs as diagnostic tools and therapeutics. In addition, the strategic use of whole phages as therapeutics, which is also gaining a lot of new traction lately (1, 2), depends on knowledge of the structure(s) a given phage will recognize on a host cell.

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Topics: Protocols, Techniques, Microbiology

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