CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing is a transformative technology that will facilitate the development of crops to meet future demands. However, application of gene editing is hindered by the long life cycle of many crop species and because desired genotypes generally require multiple generations to achieve. Single-celled microspores are haploid cells that can develop into double haploid plants and have been widely used as a breeding tool to generate homozygous plants within a generation. In this study, we combined the CRISPR/Cas9 system with microspore technology and developed an optimized haploid mutagenesis system to induce genetic modifications in the wheat genome. We investigated a number of factors that may affect the delivery of CRISPR/Cas9 reagents into microspores and found that electroporation of a minimum of 75,000 cells using 10-20 μg DNA and a pulsing voltage of 500 V is optimal for microspore transfection using the Neon transfection system. Using multiple Cas9 and sgRNA constructs, we present evidence for the seamless introduction of targeted modifications in an exogenous DsRed gene and two endogenous wheat genes, including TaLox2 and TaUbiL1. This study demonstrates the value and feasibility of combining microspore technology and CRISPR/Cas9-based gene editing for trait discovery and improvement in plants.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the Canadian wheat improvement flagship program, National Research Council Canada (PB and SK) and a grant from Thermo Fisher Scientific (PB) and a grant from the United States Department of Energy (DV). We thank Masaki Endo, the National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences (NIAS), Japan for providing the DsRed and Cas9 expression vectors. We are grateful to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for providing the seeds of AC Nanda. We thank Drs. Alison Ferrie, Wendy Lyzenga and Kishore Rajagopalan for critical reading of the manuscript. We thank Brett Dalman for helpful discussions on the Neon transfection system and its applications.
© 2018 The Author(s).