Scientific reports

Targeted mutagenesis in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) using the CRISPR/Cas9 system.

PMID 28287154


The CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats)/Cas9 system has been widely used for genome editing in various plants because of its simplicity, high efficiency and design flexibility. However, to our knowledge, there is no report on the application of CRISPR/Cas9-mediated targeted mutagenesis in cotton. Here, we report the genome editing and targeted mutagenesis in upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L., hereafter cotton) using the CRISPR/Cas9 system. We designed two guide RNAs to target distinct sites of the cotton Cloroplastos alterados 1 (GhCLA1) and vacuolar H(+)-pyrophosphatase (GhVP) genes. Mutations in these two genes were detected in cotton protoplasts. Most of the mutations were nucleotide substitutions, with one nucleotide insertion and one substitution found in GhCLA1 and one deletion found in GhVP in cotton protoplasts. Subsequently, the two vectors were transformed into cotton shoot apexes through Agrobacterium-mediated transformation, resulting in efficient target gene editing. Most of the mutations were nucleotide deletions, and the mutation efficiencies were 47.6-81.8% in transgenic cotton plants. Evaluation using restriction-enzyme-PCR assay and sequence analysis detected no off-target mutations. Our results indicated that the CRISPR/Cas9 system was an efficient and specific tool for targeted mutagenesis of the cotton genome.