© Daria Chrobok, DC SciArt

Crop: Rapeseed (Brassica napus)
Property: Increased pod strength

After soya beans, rapeseed is the second most important oil plant in the world and the most important in Central and Northern European latitudes. One rapeseed pod contains an average of 15-18 oily seeds, and if a pod bursts pre-harvest, a farmer will logically not be able to harvest it. It is estimated that pre-harvest pod burst results in a yield loss of 15-20 %. Under high temperatures, yield loss can be even further exacerbated. Scientists at the University of Kiel have succeeded in eliminating a gene which affects the stability of the pods using the CRISPR/Cas technique. Since the rapeseed is polyploid (i.e. it has several copies of each gene), all gene copies had to be switched off. This was not possible with previous mutation techniques using chemicals. The use of CRISPR/Cas thus opens up new perspectives for breeding rapeseed varieties whose pods do not burst before or during harvest. This makes it possible to significantly increase yields without the additional use of pesticides and fertilizers.


TitleCRISPR-Cas9 Targeted Mutagenesis Leads to Simultaneous Modification of Different Homoeologous Gene Copies in Polyploid Oilseed Rape (Brassica napus)
AuthorsJanina Braatz et al.
JournalPlant Physiology