The CRISPR/Cas9 system is a remarkably promising tool for targeted gene mutagenesis and becoming ever more popular for the modification of ornamental plants. This study performed the knockout of flavonoid 3′-hydroxylase (F3′H) with the application of CRISPR/Cas9 in the red flowering poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) cultivar ‘Christmas Eve’, in order to obtain plants with orange bract colour, which accumulate prevalently pelargonidin.
F3′H is an enzyme that is necessary for the formation of cyanidin-type anthocyanins, which are responsible for the red colour of poinsettia bracts. Even though F3′H was not completely inactivated, the bract colour of transgenic plants changed from vivid red (RHS 45B) to vivid reddish-orange (RHS 33A), and cyanidin levels decreased significantly compared with the wild type.
In the genetically modified plants, an increased ratio of pelargonidin to cyanidin was observed. By cloning and expression of mutated proteins, the lack of F3′H activity was confirmed. This confirms that a loss of function mutation in the poinsettia F3′H gene is sufficient for obtaining poinsettia with orange bract colour. This is the first report of the successful use of CRISPR/Cas9 for genome editing in poinsettia.
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Nitarska, Daria & Boehm, Robert & Debener, Thomas & Lucaciu, Rares & Halbwirth, Heidi. (2021). First genome edited poinsettias: targeted mutagenesis of flavonoid 3′-hydroxylase using CRISPR/Cas9 results in a colour shift. Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture (PCTOC). 10.1007/s11240-021-02103-5.