Agriculture is experiencing a technological inflection point in its history, while also facing unprecedented challenges posed by human population growth and global climate changes. Key advancements in precise genome editing and new methods for rapid generation of bioengineered crops promise to both revolutionize the speed and breadth of breeding programmes and increase our ability to feed and sustain human population growth. Although genome editing enables targeted and specific modifications of DNA sequences, several existing barriers prevent the widespread adoption of editing technologies for basic and applied research in established and emerging crop species. Inefficient methods for the transformation and regeneration of recalcitrant species and the genotype dependency of the transformation process remain major hurdles. These limitations are frequent in monocotyledonous crops, which alone provide most of the calories consumed by human populations. Somatic embryogenesis and de novo induction of meristems — pluripotent groups of stem cells responsible for plant developmental plasticity — are essential strategies to quickly generate transformed plants. Here we review recent discoveries that are rapidly advancing nuclear transformation technologies and promise to overcome the obstacles that have so far impeded the widespread adoption of genome editing in crop species.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Plant Science