Plants on demand: Genome editing for plant improvement

Concha Gómez-Mena


The plants we eat are the outcome of a humans’ long history of domestication of wild species. The introduction of CRISPR/Cas gene-editing technology has provided a new approach to crop improvement and offers an interesting range of possibilities for obtaining varieties with new and healthier characteristics. The technology is based on two fundamental pillars: on the one hand, knowing complete genome sequences, and on the other, identifying gene functions. In less than a decade, the prospect of being able to design plants on demand is now no longer a dream, but a real possibility.


crops; plant breeding; CRISPR/Cas9; genome editing

Full Text: PDF HTML



Beltrán, J. P. (2018). Cultivos transgénicos. CSIC-Los libros de la Catarata.

Biswal, A. K., Mangrauthia, S. K., Reddy, M. R., & Yugandhar, P. (2019). CRISPR mediated genome engineering to develop climate smart rice: Challenges and opportunities. Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology, 96, 100–106.

Cong, L., Ran, F. A., Cox, D., Lin, S., Barretto, R., Habib, N., Hsu, P. D., Wu, X., Jiang, W., Marraffini, L. A., & Zhang, F. (2013). Multiplex genome engineering using CRISPR/Cas systems. Science, 339(6121), 819–823.

FAO. (1983). World food security: A reappraisal of the concepts and approaches. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

FAO. (1999). Women: Users, preservers and managers of agrobiodiversity. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

FAO, IFAD, & WFP. (2012). The state of food insecurity in the world. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Gasiunas, G., Barrangou, R., Horvath, P., & Siksnys, V. (2012). Cas9-crRNA ribonucleoprotein complex mediates specific DNA cleavage for adaptive immunity in bacteria. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the USA, 109(39), E2579–2586.

Jinek, M., Chylinski, K., Fonfara, I., Hauer, M., Doudna, J. A., & Charpentier, E. (2012). A programmable dual-RNA-guided DNA endonuclease in adaptive bacterial immunity. Science, 337(6096), 816–821.

Lander, E. S. (2016). The Heroes of CRISPR. Cell, 164(1-2), 18–28.

Liang, Z., Chen, K., Li, T., Zhang, Y., Wang, Y., Zhao, Q., Liu, J., Zhang, H., Liu, C., Ran, Y., & Gao, C. (2017). Efficient DNA-free genome editing of bread wheat using CRISPR/Cas9 ribonucleoprotein complexes. Nature Communications, 8, 14261.

Medina, M., Roque, E., Pineda, B., Cañas, L., Rodríguez-Concepción, M., Beltrán, J. P., & Gómez-Mena, C. (2013). Early anther ablation triggers parthenocarpic fruit development in tomato. Plant Biotechnology Journal, 11(6), 770–779.

Metje-Sprink, J., Menz, J., Modrzejewski, D., & Sprink, T. (2018). DNA-free genome editing: Past, present and future. Frontiers in Plant Science, 9, 1957.

Mojica, F. J., Díez-Villaseñor, C., García-Martínez, J., & Almendros, C. (2009). Short motif sequences determine the targets of the prokaryotic CRISPR defence system. Microbiology, 155(Pt 3), 733–740.

Mojica, F.J, & Montoliu, L. (2016). On the origin of CRISPR-Cas technology: From prokaryotes to mammals. Trends in Microbiology, 24(10), 811–820.

Montoliu, L. (2019). Editando genes: recorta, pega y colorea. Las maravillosas herramientas CRISPR. Next Door Publishers.

National Academies of Sciences & Medicine. (2016). Genetically engineered crops: Experiences and prospects. The National Academies Press.

Ortigosa, A., Giménez-Ibáñez, S., Leonhardt, N., & Solano, R. (2019). Design of a bacterial speck resistant tomato by CRISPR/Cas9-mediated editing of SlJAZ2. Plant Biotechnology Journal, 17(3), 665–673.

Osakabe, Y., Liang, Z., Ren, C., Nishitani, C., Osakabe, K., Wada, M., Komori, S., Malnoy, M., Velasco, R., Poli, M., Jung, M.-H., Koo, O.-J., Viola, R., & Nagamangala Kanchiswamy, C. (2018). CRISPR-Cas9-mediated genome editing in apple and grapevine. Nature Protocols, 13(12), 2844–2863.

Rojas-Gracia, P., Roque, E., Medina, M., Rochina, M., Hamza, R., Angarita-Díaz, M. P., Moreno, V., Pérez-Martín, F., Lozano, R., Cañas, L., Beltrán, J. P., & Gómez-Mena, C. (2017). The parthenocarpic hydra mutant reveals a new function for a SPOROCYTELESS-like gene in the control of fruit set in tomato. New Phytologist, 214(3), 1198–1212.

Sánchez-León, S., Gil-Humanes, J., Ozuna, C. V., Giménez, M. J., Sousa, C., Voytas, D. F., & Barro, F. (2018). Low-gluten, nontransgenic wheat engineered with CRISPR/Cas9. Plant Biotechnology Journal, 16(4), 902–910.

Shan, Q., Wang, Y., Li, J., Zhang, Y., Chen, K., Liang, Z., Zhang, K., Liu, J., Xi, J. J., Qiu, J.-L., & Gao, C. (2013). Targeted genome modification of crop plants using a CRISPR-Cas system. Nature Biotechnology, 31(8), 686–688.

Taylor, S. L., & Hefle, S. L. (2001). Ingredient and labeling issues associated with allergenic foods. Allergy: European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 56(67), 64–69.

Wang, T., Zhang, H., & Zhu, H. (2019). CRISPR technology is revolutionizing the improvement of tomato and other fruit crops. Horticulture Research, 6(1), 77.

Wolter, F., Schindele, P., & Puchta, H. (2019). Plant breeding at the speed of light: the power of CRISPR/Cas to generate directed genetic diversity at multiple sites. BMC Plant Biology, 19(1), 176.


  • There are currently no refbacks.