Stable gene replacement in barley by targeted double-strand break induction.

Research paper by Koichi K Watanabe, Ulrike U Breier, Götz G Hensel, Jochen J Kumlehn, Ingo I Schubert, Bernd B Reiss

Indexed on: 30 Dec '15Published on: 30 Dec '15Published in: Journal of experimental botany


Gene targeting is becoming an important tool for precision genome engineering in plants. During gene replacement, a variant of gene targeting, transformed DNA integrates into the genome by homologous recombination (HR) to replace resident sequences. We have analysed gene targeting in barley (Hordeum vulgare) using a model system based on double-strand break (DSB) induction by the meganuclease I-SceI and a transgenic, artificial target locus. In the plants we obtained, the donor construct was inserted at the target locus by homology-directed DNA integration in at least two transformants obtained in a single experiment and was stably inherited as a single Mendelian trait. Both events were produced by one-sided integration. Our data suggest that gene replacement can be achieved in barley with a frequency suitable for routine application. The use of a codon-optimized nuclease and co-transfer of the nuclease gene together with the donor construct are probably the components important for efficient gene targeting. Such an approach, employing the recently developed synthetic nucleases/nickases that allow DSB induction at almost any sequence of a genome of interest, sets the stage for precision genome engineering as a routine tool even for important crops such as barley.