Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Current Capabilities, Precision, and Risks of Genome Editing Techniques in Agricultural Systems

Version 1 : Received: 21 November 2020 / Approved: 24 November 2020 / Online: 24 November 2020 (08:35:00 CET)

How to cite: Carter, M. Current Capabilities, Precision, and Risks of Genome Editing Techniques in Agricultural Systems. Preprints 2020, 2020110603 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202011.0603.v1). Carter, M. Current Capabilities, Precision, and Risks of Genome Editing Techniques in Agricultural Systems. Preprints 2020, 2020110603 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202011.0603.v1).

Abstract

We are in a new chapter of crop and livestock improvement with the emergence of genome editing. This latest generation of molecular tools can be used to make targeted changes in a genome including insertions, deletions, and mutations. With new advances comes new risks for unintended changes and impacts, thus the need for appropriate risk assessment for product development and to inform regulatory measures. Though CRISPR/Cas has arisen as the predominant technology, there are multiple types of genome editing tools each with pros and cons depending on the organism and desired outcome. Furthermore, each editing tool differs in specificity as they may edit non-intended sites, referred to as off-target edits. The consensus of the agricultural editing community is to avoid off-target editing through design and detection, instead of determining whether off-target editing in each case is detrimental. The design of a targeting component, the tool chosen, and the identification of the edit(s) made are the critical factors in avoiding off-target edits and confirming intended edits in final products that are released commercially. The limited amount of head-to-head comparisons of genome editing tools in diverse crops and livestock make it difficult to develop broad conclusions and best practices, which is further compounded by the diversity of techniques, targets, and processes. Developers and breeders should consult the literature and test as needed to determine which editing technology will be the most effective for their purposes, especially as more tools with altered efficiency and specificity become available. Yet, the lack of off-target edits in studies that employed careful design of targeting components followed by wide testing for on- and off-target edits bodes well for the use of genome editing with proper precautions of target selection and screening.

Subject Areas

genome editing, agriculture, crispr, talen, specificity, off-target

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