The Sci-Files – 06/13/2021 – Thilani Jayakody and Jacob Jensen – Gene Editing Potatoes

Chelsie Boodoo and Daniel Puentes

Thilani Jayakody
Thilani Jayakody
Jacob Jensen
Jacob Jensen

On this week’s The Sci-Files, your hosts Chelsie and Danny interview Thilani Jayakody and Jacob Jensen. Thilani is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology program working on applications of genome editing for crop improvement in cultivated potato in Dr. Dave Douches’ Potato Breeding and Genetics Program. Jacob is a recent graduate of the Genomics and Molecular Genetics BS program and has assisted with research in the potato breeding program for over two years.
Genome editing has emerged as a powerful technology to enable sequence-specific alterations and has revolutionized our ability to easily and efficiently stack desirable traits in plants. Since the advent of CRISPR/Cas9, the field of genome editing is rapidly evolving, with goals of creating genome editing tools with new applications and increased specificity. Specificity is an important quality to consider when selecting a tool, as the potential of off-target mutations can have deleterious effects. In addition, the regulatory trigger in the United States for genetically engineered crops is based on whether it can be deemed substantially equivalent to one that was conventionally bred. Therefore, it is important to test newly developed tools for their genome-wide effects in order to create informed decisions before pursuing the regulatory process. To address this, the project aims to compare the frequency, location, and impact of off-target mutations from emerging genome editing tools in cultivated potatoes.
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