Research Area

Plant genome engineering using sequence-specific nucleases (SSNs) overcomes the limitations of traditional crop improvement technologies by creating plants with novel traits through the targeted modification of plant genomes. Therefore, our research area mainly deals with developing highly efficient and robust genome editing technologies in plant cells to enable targeted genome editing as well as employing the developed platform for targeted gene mutagenesis, addition, editing and transcriptional modulation to identify and modify plants traits for high-quality, disease resistance and stress tolerance in crop species.

Team Description

The team focuses on the development and application of genome editing technology in crop improvement. They were the first to apply CRISPR/Cas9 editing technology to major food crops, and reported the first-ever CRISPR-edited plant. The team contributes greatly to crop genome editing by developing: (1) trancient exprssion of CRISPR/Cas9 DNA, RNA or protein-RNA complexes that exhibit enhanced specificity and biosafety (2) a series of base editing and prime editing systems for creating single/ several nucleotide mutations in major crops, (3) a new functional genomics tool that enhances gene translation by editing upstream open reading frames, (4) a critical evaluation of off-target editing by base editors has served to alert the worldwide genome editing community for the potential shortcomings of certain base editing methods, and (5) wheat strains with resistance to powdery mildew disease; lettuce lines with increased vitamin C content; wheat and rice with herbicide resistance traits.

Team Members

Yanpeng Wang
Kunling Chen
Rui Zhang
Yongfang Chen
Jinxing Liu
Shengxing Wang
Yuan Zong
Lu Chen
Hongchao Li
Tingdong Li
Shuai Jin
Chenxiao Xue
Qiupeng Lin
Hongyuan Fei
Zixu Zhu
Dexing Lin
Rui Ke
Chao Sun
Boshu Li
Yijing Liu
Yuan Lei
Yuxiang Wang
Yu Sun
Ronghong Liang
Xiaomin Si
Sha Chen
Fengti Qiu
Haocheng Zhu
Sinian Xing
Zhuangzhuang Chai

Team Show


1. Zhu H1, Li C1, Gao C* (2020) Applications of CRISPR-Cas in agriculture and plant biotechnology. Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology, 1(12):782.

2. Jin S1, Fei H1, Zhu Z1, Luo Y1, Liu J, Gao S, Zhang F, Chen YH, Wang Y*, Gao C* (2020) Rationally designed APOBEC3B cytosine base editors with improved specificity. Molecular Cell, 79(5):728-740.e6.

3. Wang S1, Zong Y1, Lin Q1, Zhang H1, Chai Z, Zhang D, Chen K, Qiu JL, Gao C* (2020) Precise, predictable multi-nucleotide deletions in rice and wheat using APOBEC-Cas9. Nature Biotechnology, 38(12):1460-1465.

4. Lin Q1, Zong Y1, Xue C1, Wang S, Jin S, Zhu Z, Wang Y, Anzalone AV, Raguram A, Doman JL, Liu DR, Gao C* (2020) Prime genome editing in rice and wheat. Nature Biotechnology, 38(5):582-585.

5. Li C1, Zhang R1, Meng X1, Chen S, Zong Y, Lu C, Qiu JL, Chen YH, Li J*, Gao C* (2020) Targeted, random mutagenesis of plant genes with dual cytosine and adenine base editors. Nature Biotechnology, 38(7):875-882.

6. Zhang R1, Liu J1, Chai Z, Chen S, Bai Y, Zong Y, Chen K, Li J, Jiang L*, Gao C* (2019) Generation of herbicide tolerance traits and a new selectable marker in wheat using base editing. Nature Plants, 5:480-485.

7. Jin S1, Zong Y1, Gao Q1, Zhu Z, Wang Y, Qin P, Liang C, Wang D, Qiu J, Zhang F, Gao C* (2019) Cytosine, but not adenine, base editors induce genome-wide off-target mutations in rice. Science, 364, 292-295.

8. Chen K1, Wang Y1, Zhang R, Zhang H, Gao C* (2019) CRISPR/Cas Genome editing and precision plant breeding in agriculture. Annual Review of Plant Biology, 70:667-697.

9. Li T1, Yang X1, Yu Y1, Si X, Zhai X, Zhang H, Dong W, Gao C*, Xu C* (2018) Domestication of wild tomato is accelerated by genome editing. Nature Biotechnology, 36, 1160-1163.

10. Zong Y1, Song Q1, Li C, Jin S, Zhang D, Wang Y, Qiu JL, Gao C* (2018) Efficient C-to-T base editing in plants using a fusion of nCas9 and human APOBEC3A. Nature Biotechnology, 36, 950-953.

11. Zhang H1, Si X1, Ji X1, Fan R, Liu J, Chen K, Wang D, Gao C* (2018) Genome editing of upstream open reading frames (uORFs) enables translational control in plants. Nature Biotechnology, 36, 894-898.

12. Zong Y1, Wang Y1, Li C, Zhang R, Chen K, Ran Y, Qiu J, Wang D, Gao C* (2017) Precise base editing in rice, wheat and maize with a Cas9-cytidine deaminase fusion, Nature Biotechnology, 35, 438.

13. Liang Z1, Chen K1, Li T, Zhang Y, Wang Y, Zhao Q, Liu J, Zhang H, Liu C, Ran Y, Gao C* (2017) Efficient DNA-free genome editing of bread wheat using CRISPR/Cas9 ribonucleoprotein complexes, Nature Communications, 8, 14261.

14. Zhang Y1, Liang Z1, Zong Y1, Wang Y, Liu J, Chen K, Qiu J, Gao C* (2016) Efficient and transgene-free genome editing in wheat through transient expression of CRISPR/Cas9 DNA or RNA. Nature Communications, 7, 12617.

15. Li J1, Meng X1, Zong Y, Chen K, Zhang H, Liu J, Li J*, Gao C* (2016) Gene replacements and insertions in rice by intron targeting using CRISPR/Cas9. Nature Plants, 2(10):16139.

16. Ji X1, Zhang H1, Zhang Y, Wang Y, Gao C* (2015) Establishing a CRISPR-Cas-like immue system conferring DNA virus resistance in plants. Nature Plants, 1, 15144.

17. Wang Y1, Cheng X1, Shan Q, Zhang Y, Liu J, Gao C*, Qiu J * (2014) Simultaneous editing of three homoeoalleles in hexaploid bread wheat confers heritable resistance to powdery mildew. Nature Biotechnology, 32, 947-951.

18. Voytas D F*, Gao, C* (2014) Precision genome engineering and agriculture: opportunities and regulatory challenges. PLoS Biology, 12, e1001877.

19. Shan Q1, Wang Y1, Li J1, Zhang Y, Chen K, Liang Z, Zhang K, Liu J, Qiu J*, Gao C* (2013) Targeted genome modification of crop plants using a CRISPR-Cas system. Nature Biotechnology, 31, 686-688.