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Recent gene editing applications attempt to improve livestock and crops in response to climate change and their technical challenges and potential.
FREMONT, CA: A significant challenge to food security, agricultural systems, and human nutrition is posed by climate change. For increasing performance across various attributes, work has been done on crop and livestock gene editing. Many of the targeted phenotypes have characteristics that might be useful for coping with climate change. Even though there haven't been many gene editing applications in agricultural production up to this point, various studies conducted in lab settings have shown that there could soon be practical applications to combat climate change.
Rice's tolerance of salinity
For the safety of the world's food supply, rice, a staple food for half the population, is crucial. Drought and salinity are two significant abiotic factors that influence rice, demanding an investigation into the possibilities of utilizing gene editing to develop resistant varieties. No concurrent losses in grain yield, plant biomass, or grain quality occur due to better rice plant performance in high saline settings. Edited plants likewise revealed no appreciable differences from unedited plants in the absence of saline and had considerably less severe biomass decreases owing to salt exposure than unedited plants.
Rice's tolerance to drought
Rice has also been genetically modified by focusing on stomata growth to increase its resistance to drought and hot temperatures. The primary locations of water loss are the stomata, anatomical structures on the surface of all agricultural plant tissues.
Despite no changes in production, rice lines with lower stomata density had superior yield in extreme drought and maintained lower temperatures. Stomata density reductions brought about by a cisgenic strategy mirrored those brought about by a knockout-based, gene-editing approach. Thus, by lowering stomata density through gene-editing or cisgenic methods, plants may be better able to withstand water shortages and more tolerant to heat.
Increasing tolerance to abiotic stress
Some of the biggest challenges to agricultural output in the face of climate change are abiotic stresses, such as salt, drought, and flooding. As a result of climate change, abiotic stress is expected to worsen in agricultural systems. Gene editing is a valuable method for extending crop tolerance.
Genetic editing for maize drought tolerance
Gene editing techniques can assist knock-ins in addition to producing knockouts. Gene linked to drought tolerance, preceded by an alternative maize promoter. Due to this same insertion, enhanced grain production is made possible amid blooming water stress while sustaining yields under normal growth conditions. A native maize genetic sequence was injected into a new locus using this method, an intragenic technique made possible by gene editing, to improve plant adaptability to an abiotic stressor.