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Plant Sci. 2016 Jan;242:65-76. doi: 10.1016/j.plantsci.2015.09.003. Epub 2015 Sep 8.

The CRISPR-Cas9 technology: Closer to the ultimate toolkit for targeted genome editing.

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University of Evry Val d'Essonne, Evry 91025, France; Genopole, Evry 91025, France. Electronic address:


The first period of plant genome editing was based on Agrobacterium; chemical mutagenesis by EMS (ethyl methanesulfonate) and ionizing radiations; each of these technologies led to randomly distributed genome modifications. The second period is associated with the discoveries of homing and meganuclease enzymes during the 80s and 90s, which were then engineered to provide efficient tools for targeted editing. From 2006 to 2012, a few crop plants were successfully and precisely modified using zinc-finger nucleases. A third wave of improvement in genome editing, which led to a dramatic decrease in off-target events, was achieved in 2009-2011 with the TALEN technology. The latest revolution surfaced in 2013 with the CRISPR-Cas9 system, whose high efficiency and technical ease of use is really impressive; scientists can use in-house kits or commercially available kits; the only two requirements are to carefully choose the location of the DNA double strand breaks to be induced and then to order an oligonucleotide. While this close-to- ultimate toolkit for targeted editing of genomes represents dramatic scientific progress which allows the development of more complex useful agronomic traits through synthetic biology, the social acceptance of genome editing remains regularly questioned by anti-GMO citizens and organizations.


CRISPR/Cas9; Double homologous recombination; Meganucleases; Nuclear genome and organellar genomes; Plant genomes editing; Social ethical and regulation policies; TALENs; Transgenesis

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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