Project details – University of Copenhagen

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Genome editing in lupins

Main area:Molecular Biology
Target group:Biology-Biotechnology, Environmental Science, Agriculture, Other Education
Educational level:Master
Project description:

Genome editing is the precise manipulation of an organism’s genome, carried out in order to confer a useful trait. Among the different systems used for genome editing, the recently developed CRISPR/Cas9 system is the most promising and has already achieved widespread recognition.

The present MSc project aims at developing genome editing in lupins using CRISPR/Cas9 technology. Lupins are nitrogen-fixing legumes well adapted to poor soils and dry climates. Their beans are very high in protein (30–40%) but their use as food or fodder is limited by a high content of alkaloids, which makes the beans bitter and toxic.

In this MSc project, you will use CRIPSR/Cas9 technology to knock out the only known enzyme in the lupin alkaloid pathway (lysine decarboxylase, LDC). The expected result is a modified lupin plant unable to produce alkaloids and which produces alkaloid-free beans. The project will enable the study of the gene function in lupins and pave the way for future engineering approaches.

Methods used:1) CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing (including design and testing of guide RNAs); 2)Transformation of lupin embryos by particle bombardment; 3) In vitro culture & regeneration of lupin plants; 4) Analysis of alkaloid levels in plant tissues by LC-MS
Keywords:genome editing, CRISPR/Cas9, lupin, legume crop
Project home page: http://plen.ku.dk/english/news/2017/cracking-the-code-of-toxic-lupin-beans/
Supervisor(s): Assistant Professor Fernando Geu-Flores (feg@plen.ku.dk); Postdoc Ting Yang (tyang@plen.ku.dk)
Email:tyang@plen.ku.dk