Texas A&M AgriLife Launches cross-discipline crop gene editing, transformation, and genomics technology

Genome editing aims to change something in a plant’s form or function, or, in other words, its phenotype, says Dr. Bill McCutchen, executive associate director of AgriLife Research. Yet the relationship between phenotypic traits and genetic sequences is far from well-understood, he says, adding that although genome editing shows tremendous promise, several challenges must be overcome before it can truly become a routine part of crop improvement. Overcoming these challenges is an overarching goal for the three labs in the genome-editing pipeline. As the labs work on their clients’ projects, they are also perfecting their methods to make them more precise and efficient.

“The Multi-Crop Transformation Facility is optimizing tissue culture regeneration, which is genotype-specific and species-specific,” McCutchen says. “And the Crop Genome Editing Lab is optimizing the CRISPR delivery system.”

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