| Developing methods for genome editing in cannabis in a non-transgenic manner

Leor Eshed Williams Ph.D.  Lidor Gil

Genome editing using the CRISPER/Cas9 technology opened new possibilities in research and in biotechnology for many organisms including plants. To date, targeted gene knockout using the CRISPER/Cas9 system has been used in many plant species, with high efficiency. Despite the high potential of the system to manipulate genes and to serve as a tool in breeding programs, there is still no published work on using CRISPER/Cas9 in cannabis. We believe that genome editing can be a powerful tool in generating new cannabis strains having desirable characteristics. To establish the genome editing system in cannabis, we are developing a method for transient transformation in protoplast with a plasmid carrying the Cas9 gene and the guiding molecule. This method allows the Cas9 to induce a mutation without integrating to the genome, generating a non-transgenic cell, with the desirable mutation.  Following the transformation, the protoplast are induced to regenerate shoots, resulting in a mutated plant that is unify (non-chimeric) and true-to-type. Calibrating this method to exhibit high efficiency will enable us and other to generate many new plants in short time in a non-transgenic manner. There are many traits that can be manipulated by gene editing. For example, creating plants with agro-technical advantages, or manipulating the cannabinoid biosynthesis pathway.  

  • Key words: Genome editing, Plant regeneration, Transient transformation