Development and application of CRISPR/Cas9-based locus-specific mutation systems for generation of novel germplasms of oilseed rape (Brassica napus) and Xiaobaicai (B. rapa)

Team: Dirk Schenke, Michael Pröbsting, Maximilian Teutsch, Wanzhi Ye
Grant No.: I 3/14-1 5-CHN, supported by BLE, 2017-2018
Partner: Prof. Dr. Ying Miao, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, VR China

Oilseed rape (B. napus) and Xiaobaicai (B. rapa) are important crops in Germany and China. Due to poor genetic diversities, most economically important traits like those for tolerance/resistance to biotic-, and abiotic stresses are still missing in germplasms. Therefore, crop improvement and in particular breeding of varieties tolerant/resistant to various a/biotic stress factors remain a great challenge for breeders worldwide.

Recent progress in genome sequencing projects of cruciferous crops allows for novel molecular and genetic approaches/strategies for crop improvement via genome-based molecular breeding strategies. In this cooperation, we focus on the application of CRISPR/Cas9 system for locus-specific mutations in Brassica rapa and B. napus genomes to increase genetic variations and generate new germplasm.

The first phase of the project generated strong synergy effects on our cooperation. Both partners realized the exchange of professors/young scientists/students, established project strategies/working schedules and exchanged gene constructs/materials.

Furthermore, first systematic CRISPR/Cas9 mutagenesis of WRKY/Whirly transcription factors as well as putative susceptibility factors for plant-fungus (Verticillium) in oilseed rape and Xiaobaicai were performed in China and Germany, resulting in diverse mutants for further analysis. Following activities are planned:

  • Selection and characterization of mutants generated


  • Functional analysis of mutants regarding their agronomic performance and resistance/tolerance to various a/biotic stresses    


  • Explore molecular mechanisms underlying the mutants by comparative transcriptome, proteome and phenome analysis as well as by systems biology studies