Review and Progress

CRISPR/Cas9 in Poplar Lignin Biosynthesis: Advances and Future Prospects  

Yongquan Lu
State Key Laboratory of Subtropical Silviculture, College of Forestry and Biotechnology, Zhejiang A&F University, Hangzhou, 311300, Zhejiang, China
Author    Correspondence author
Tree Genetics and Molecular Breeding, 2024, Vol. 14, No. 1   
Received: 14 Jan., 2024    Accepted: 16 Feb., 2024    Published: 28 Feb., 2024
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This is an open access article published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

The CRISPR/Cas9 system has emerged as a revolutionary tool for genome editing, offering unprecedented precision and efficiency in modifying genetic material. This systematic review focuses on the application of CRISPR/Cas9 technology in the biosynthesis of lignin in poplar species, highlighting recent advances and future prospects. Lignin, a complex polymer in the cell walls of plants, plays a crucial role in providing structural integrity and resistance to pathogens. However, its recalcitrance poses challenges for industrial processes such as pulping and biofuel production. Recent studies have demonstrated the potential of CRISPR/Cas9 to target and modify genes involved in lignin biosynthesis, thereby reducing lignin content and altering its composition to enhance industrial utility. Several research efforts have successfully employed CRISPR/Cas9 to edit lignin biosynthesis genes in poplar. For instance, the efficient knockout of the phytoene desaturase gene in Populus alba × Populus glandulosa using a single guide RNA (sgRNA) has shown promising results in generating targeted mutations with high efficiency. Similarly, the application of CRISPR/Cas9 in Populus tomentosa Carr. has demonstrated the system's capability to create precise genomic edits, resulting in significant phenotypic changes. Moreover, studies have evaluated the efficiency of various guide RNAs (gRNAs) in poplars, identifying key factors that influence gene editing success, such as GC content and the accessibility of the seed region. The review also discusses the broader implications of CRISPR/Cas9 technology in plant research, including its potential to enhance disease resistance, improve nutritional content, and develop drought-tolerant varieties Despite these advancements, challenges such as off-target effects and the need for efficient delivery methods remain. Future research directions include the development of high-fidelity Cas9 variants and the optimization of delivery systems to minimize off-target modifications and enhance editing efficiency.

CRISPR/Cas9; Poplar; Lignin biosynthesis; Genome editing; Phytoene desaturase; Guide RNA; Gene knockout; Plant biotechnology
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. Poplar
. Lignin biosynthesis
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. Gene knockout
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