Versatile Applications of the CRISPR/Cas Toolkit in Plant Pathology and Disease Management

M. S. Wheatley and Y. N. Yang,  Phytopathology,  111:1080-1090. 2021.

New tools and advanced technologies have played key roles in facilitating basic research in plant pathology and practical approaches for disease management and crop health. Recently. the CRISPR/Cas (clustered regularly interspersed short palindromic repeats/CRISPR-associated) system has emerged as a powerful and versatile tool for genome editing and other molecular applications. This review aims to introduce and highlight the CRISPR/Cas toolkit and its current and future impact on plant pathology and disease management. We will cover the rapidly expanding horizon of various CRISPR/Cas applications in the basic study of plant-pathogen interactions, genome engineering of plant disease resistance, and molecular diagnosis of diverse pathogens. Using the citrus greening disease as an example, various CRISPR/Cas-enabled strategies are presented to precisely edit the host genome for disease resistance, to rapidly detect the pathogen for disease management, and to potentially use gene drive for insect population control. At the cutting edge of nucleic acid manipulation and detection, the CRISPR/Cas toolkit will accelerate plant breeding and reshape crop production and disease management as we face the challenges of 21st century agriculture.

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