A crop that feeds billions freed from blight by CRISPR
- Genome editing has made one of the world’s most important crops resistant to a devastating bacterial infection. Bacterial blight, which is caused by Xanthomonas oryzae pathovar oryzae (Xoo), can slash farmers’ yields of rice, which is a staple food for billions of people. Seeking to lessen the blight’s impact, Ricardo Oliva at the International Rice Research Institute in Manila and his colleagues studied Xoo genes that code for proteins called TALEs. Xoo use these proteins to turn on the plant’s SWEET genes, which produce sugar-transporting molecules. This gives the bacteria access to nutrients in the plants’ leaves.