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"New Tools for Plant Genome Editing"

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Thursday 31 October 2019, 11:00 - 12:30


The development of CRISPR/Cas technologies over the past six years has transformed the biological sciences. Progress in this field has been rapid, with a new technological breakthrough seemingly reported every other week. The mission of the Plant Genome Editing group is to integrate the latest technological breakthroughs in easy-to-use vector systems and to develop novel gene editing technologies. The main lines of research within the group are to optimize the generation of knockout mutants, base editing, homologous recombination and CRISPR screens. We have made use of the GreenGate Golden Gate cloning strategy as it is modular and allows for the rapid assembly of new CRISPR systems by only generating a handful of new parts. We have further developed this strategy by devising a multi-gene assembly system we call Golden Gibson. Golden Gibson currently allows users to assemble up to eight expression units using Golden Gate assembly followed by Gibson assembly. This workflow will now allow us to more rapidly assemble complex expression vectors. To evaluate the various genome editing technologies, we have also developed a number of reporter systems for indels, base editing and homologous recombination. Using these tools, we will now be able to rapidly go through the design-build-test-learn cycles to build more efficient gene editing systems for plants. Our group has also been at the forefront of developing new technologies for plants. In collaboration with the groups Programmed Cell Death and Roots and the VIB flow core, we developed a CRISPR system for tissue-specific knockouts (CRISPR-TSKO) to overcome the inherent limitations of studying lethal genes and to test context-specific hypotheses. CRISPR screens have become commonplace in many fields but has been largely ignored by the plant community. In collaboration with a number of different research groups, we are actively developing multiplex CRISPR screens to rapidly associate genes with their function.

Location Jozef Schell Seminar Room
Contact Dr Tom Jacobs
VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology