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Yinong Yang

Date & Location: September 28, 2020, at 4p; Virtual visit

Subject: Improving CRISPR/Cas genome editing for precision breeding and disease management

Host: Ning Jiang

About the Speaker

University: Penn State

Research Interests: The bacterial cluster regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated protein 9 nuclease (Cas9) system has recently emerged as the most popular genome editing tool due to its simplicity, versatility and broad applicability. To facilitate functional and mechanistic studies of the rice-Magnaporthe oryzae interaction, we have developed and improved bioinformatics and molecular tools for CRISPR/Cas9-enabled plant and fungal genome editing. Particularly, the polycistronic tRNA-gRNA (PTG) strategy was developed for efficient expression of guide RNAs and multiplex genome editing based on the endogenous tRNA processing system. The PTG strategy has been effectively used for simultaneous editing of multiple genomic sites, deletion of chromosomal fragments, cis-element and promoter editing, multiplex base editing and other sophisticated CRISPR/Cas applications in various plant, animal or microbial systems. The improved CRISPR/Cas toolkits enable functional discovery of coding and non-coding DNA sequences and facilitate genetic improvement of commercial crop cultivars for agronomically important traits such as yield, nutritional quality and disease resistance. In addition, Cas nucleases have been harnessed for highly specific and ultra-sensitive detection of important plant pathogens such as Candidatus Liberibacter asiatics, the causal agent of citrus greening disease. As a result, the CRISPR/Cas technology is opening up a broad range of promising opportunities in basic plant biology, crop breeding, and disease management.