CROPSR: A new tool to accelerate genetic discoveries
Left to right: Hans Müller Paul and Matthew Hudson
Left to right: Hans Müller Paul and Matthew Hudson
February 17, 2022

URBANA, Ill. -- Commercially viable biofuel crops are vital to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and a new tool developed by ACES scientists and the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI) should accelerate their development — and genetic editing advances overall.

The genomes of crops are tailored by generations of breeding to optimize specific traits, and until recently breeders were limited to selection on naturally occurring diversity. CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology can change this, but the software tools necessary for designing and evaluating CRISPR experiments have so far been based on the needs of editing in mammalian genomes, which don’t share the same characteristics as complex crop genomes.

Enter CROPSR, the first open-source software tool for genome-wide design and evaluation of guide RNA (gRNA) sequences for CRISPR experiments. CROPSR was created by scientists at CABBI, a Department of Energy-funded Bioenergy Research Center (BRC). The genome-wide approach significantly shortens the time required to design a CRISPR experiment, reducing the challenge of working with crops and accelerating gRNA sequence design, evaluation, and validation, according to the study published in BMC Bioinformatics.

Read the full story at CABBI's website.