- NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP
Parthenocarpy in horticultural crop plants is an important trait with agricultural value for various industrial purposes as well as direct eating quality. Here, we demonstrate a breeding strategy to generate parthenocarpic tomato plants using the CRISPR/Cas9 system. We optimized the CRISPR/Cas9 system to introduce somatic mutations effectively into SlIAA9-a key gene controlling parthenocarpy-with mutation rates of up to 100% in the T0 generation. Furthermore, analysis of off-target mutations using deep sequencing indicated that our customized gRNAs induced no additional mutations in the host genome. Regenerated mutants exhibited morphological changes in leaf shape and seedless fruit-a characteristic of parthenocarpic tomato. And the segregated next generation (T1) also showed a severe phenotype associated with the homozygous mutated genome. The system developed here could be applied to produce parthenocarpic tomato in a wide variety of cultivars, as well as other major horticultural crops, using this precise and rapid breeding technique.
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