Genome editing using CRISPR/Cas9–targeted mutagenesis: An opportunity for yield improvements of crop plants grown under environmental stresses

Mostafa Abdelrahman, Abdullah M. Al-Sadi, Alireza Pour-Aboughadareh, David J. Burritt, Lam Son Phan Tran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)


Developing more crops able to sustainably produce high yields when grown under biotic/abiotic stresses is an important goal, if crop production and food security are to be guaranteed in the face of ever-increasing human population and unpredictable global climatic conditions. However, conventional crop improvement, through random mutagenesis or genetic recombination, is time-consuming and cannot keep pace with increasing food demands. Targeted genome editing (GE) technologies, especially clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/(CRISPR)-associated protein 9 (Cas9), have great potential to aid in the breeding of crops that are able to produce high yields under conditions of biotic/abiotic stress. This is due to their high efficiency, accuracy and low risk of off-target effects, compared with conventional random mutagenesis methods. The use of CRISPR/Cas9 system has grown very rapidly in recent years with numerous examples of targeted mutagenesis in crop plants, including gene knockouts, modifications, and the activation and repression of target genes. The potential of the GE approach for crop improvement has been clearly demonstrated. However, the regulation and social acceptance of GE crops still remain a challenge. In this review, we evaluate the recent applications of the CRISPR/Cas9-mediated GE, as a means to produce crop plants with greater resilience to the stressors they encounter when grown under increasing stressful environmental conditions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPlant Physiology and Biochemistry
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018



  • CRISPR/Cas9
  • Crops
  • Environmental stresses
  • Genome editing
  • Yields

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science

Cite this