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Article

From Traditional Breeding to Genome Editing for Boosting Productivity of the Ancient Grain Tef [Eragrostis tef (Zucc.) Trotter]

1
Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Department of Biology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27412, USA
2
Natural and Medical Sciences Research Center, Biotechnology and OMICs Laboratory, University of Nizwa, Nizwa 616, Oman
3
Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis, MO 63132, USA
4
Institute of Plant Sciences, University of Bern, Altenbergrain 21, CH-3013 Bern, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Francesco Carimi
Plants 2021, 10(4), 628; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10040628
Received: 8 February 2021 / Revised: 19 March 2021 / Accepted: 22 March 2021 / Published: 25 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Biotechnology and Crop Improvement)
Tef (Eragrostis tef (Zucc.) Trotter) is a staple food crop for 70% of the Ethiopian population and is currently cultivated in several countries for grain and forage production. It is one of the most nutritious grains, and is also more resilient to marginal soil and climate conditions than major cereals such as maize, wheat and rice. However, tef is an extremely low-yielding crop, mainly due to lodging, which is when stalks fall on the ground irreversibly, and prolonged drought during the growing season. Climate change is triggering several biotic and abiotic stresses which are expected to cause severe food shortages in the foreseeable future. This has necessitated an alternative and robust approach in order to improve resilience to diverse types of stresses and increase crop yields. Traditional breeding has been extensively implemented to develop crop varieties with traits of interest, although the technique has several limitations. Currently, genome editing technologies are receiving increased interest among plant biologists as a means of improving key agronomic traits. In this review, the potential application of clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and CRISPR-associated proteins (CRISPR-Cas) technology in improving stress resilience in tef is discussed. Several putative abiotic stress-resilient genes of the related monocot plant species have been discussed and proposed as target genes for editing in tef through the CRISPR-Cas system. This is expected to improve stress resilience and boost productivity, thereby ensuring food and nutrition security in the region where it is needed the most. View Full-Text
Keywords: CRSIPR-Cas; drought tolerance; Eragrostis tef; genome editing; stress resilience CRSIPR-Cas; drought tolerance; Eragrostis tef; genome editing; stress resilience
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MDPI and ACS Style

Numan, M.; Khan, A.L.; Asaf, S.; Salehin, M.; Beyene, G.; Tadele, Z.; Ligaba-Osena, A. From Traditional Breeding to Genome Editing for Boosting Productivity of the Ancient Grain Tef [Eragrostis tef (Zucc.) Trotter]. Plants 2021, 10, 628. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10040628

AMA Style

Numan M, Khan AL, Asaf S, Salehin M, Beyene G, Tadele Z, Ligaba-Osena A. From Traditional Breeding to Genome Editing for Boosting Productivity of the Ancient Grain Tef [Eragrostis tef (Zucc.) Trotter]. Plants. 2021; 10(4):628. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10040628

Chicago/Turabian Style

Numan, Muhammad, Abdul L. Khan, Sajjad Asaf, Mohammad Salehin, Getu Beyene, Zerihun Tadele, and Ayalew Ligaba-Osena. 2021. "From Traditional Breeding to Genome Editing for Boosting Productivity of the Ancient Grain Tef [Eragrostis tef (Zucc.) Trotter]" Plants 10, no. 4: 628. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10040628

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