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Mol Ecol Resour. 2018 Aug 7. doi: 10.1111/1755-0998.12935. [Epub ahead of print]

Application of CRISPR/Cas9 to Tragopogon (Asteraceae), an evolutionary model for the study of polyploidy.

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Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Program, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
Department of Genetics, Development, and Cell Biology, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
Department of Biology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
Biodiversity Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.


Tragopogon (Asteraceae) is an excellent natural system for studies of recent polyploidy. Development of an efficient CRISPR/Cas9-based genome editing platform in Tragopogon will facilitate novel studies of the genetic consequences of polyploidy. Here, we report our initial results of developing CRISPR/Cas9 in Tragopogon. We have established a feasible tissue culture and transformation protocol for Tragopogon. Through protoplast transient assays, use of the TragCRISPR system (i.e. the CRISPR/Cas9 system adapted for Tragopogon) was capable of introducing site-specific mutations in Tragopogon protoplasts. Agrobacterium-mediated transformation with Cas9-sgRNA constructs targeting the phytoene desaturase gene (TraPDS) was implemented in this model polyploid system. Sequencing of PCR amplicons from the target regions indicated simultaneous mutations of two alleles and four alleles of TraPDS in albino shoots from Tragopogon porrifolius (2x) and Tragopogon mirus (4x), respectively. The average proportions of successfully transformed calli with the albino phenotype were 87% and 78% in the diploid and polyploid, respectively. This appears to be the first demonstration of CRISPR/Cas9-based genome editing in any naturally formed neopolyploid system. Although a more efficient tissue culture system should be developed in Tragopogon, application of a robust CRISPR/Cas9 system will permit unique studies of biased fractionation, the gene-balance hypothesis and cytonuclear interactions in polyploids. In addition, the CRISPR/Cas9 platform enables investigations of those genes involved in phenotypic changes in polyploids and will also facilitate novel functional biology studies in Asteraceae. Our workflow provides a guide for applying CRISPR/Cas9 to other nongenetic model plant systems.


PDS ; Tragopogon ; CRISPR/Cas9; neopolyploidy; tissue culture; transient assay


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