Engineering plant architecture via CRISPR/Cas9-mediated alteration of strigolactone biosynthesis

Haroon Butt, Muhammad Jamil, Jian You Wang, Salim Al-Babili*, Magdy Mahfouz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Background: Precision plant genome engineering holds much promise for targeted improvement of crop traits via unprecedented single-base level control over the genetic material. Strigolactones (SLs) are a key determinant of plant architecture, known for their role in inhibiting shoot branching (tillering). Results: We used CRISPR/Cas9 in rice (Oryza sativa) for targeted disruption of CAROTENOID CLEAVAGE DIOXYGENASE 7 (CCD7), which controls a key step in SL biosynthesis. The ccd7 mutants exhibited a striking increase in tillering, combined with a reduced height, which could be rescued by application of the synthetic SL analog GR24. Striga germination assays and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis showed that root exudates of ccd7 mutants were also SL deficient. Conclusions: Taken together, our results show the potential and feasibility of the use of the CRISPR/Cas9 system for targeted engineering of plant architecture and for elucidating the molecular underpinnings of architecture-related traits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number174
JournalBMC plant biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 29 2018


  • CCD7
  • CRISPR/Cas9
  • Carotenoid cleavage dioxygenases
  • Carotenoids
  • Crop improvement
  • Genome editing
  • Plant architecture
  • Rice engineering
  • Strigolactones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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