Exotic fruits that mature within a small seasonal window and are difficult to store must be consumed quickly, making it hard for farmers to make a profit. Scientists have now created a reference sequence of one such tropical fruit, lychee, and applied insights on genetic variations to develop a simple genetic test that predicts when the tree will flower and fruit, when the plant is still young.
Grasses, including major crop plants such as rice and wheat, are taking an evolutionary shortcut by incorporating genes from other species of grass through a process called lateral gene transfer, a surprising new study reports. This gives them a competitive edge in tackling the effects of climate change.
A new study from scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing demonstrates the specificity of prime editing—a CRISPR-based genome editing refinement that can introduce small insertions and deletions in addition to single base changes—in altering genomic DNA in plants. These findings establish the potential of prime editing in agricultural biotechnology.