BER launches Environmental System Science Program. Visit our new website under construction!

U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

New Toolkit for Plant Genome Engineering
Published: June 01, 2017
Posted: August 02, 2021


Develop plant genome engineering techniques to allow efficient gene knockouts, replacements, altered transcriptional regulation, and multiplexed modifications.


  • A suite of direct and modular cloning vectors was developed to build TALEN-or CRISPR/Cas9-based editing targeting multiple genes and containing different promoters, reporters, selectable markers, and codon-optimized genes.
  • Vector construction is facilitated by an online tool that allows choice of different vector modules for different functions, either in monocot or dicot plants.


  • The toolkit was tested for deletion mutagenesis targeting single or multiple genes, taking advantage of polycistronic transcripts with multiple guide RNAs (gRNA) in a single construct.
  • Up to 6 genes were successfully knocked out using multiplexed vectors, and a 58 Kbp genomic region containing 5 genes involved in nitrogen fixation was deleted in a single event.
  • The new toolkit will accelerate genome engineering of bioenergy crops, providing a flexible and comprehensive set of gene-editing options.

Cermák, T. et al. “Multipurpose toolkit to enable advanced genome engineering in plants.” The Plant Cell 29(6), 1196–1217 (2017). [DOI:10.1105/tpc.16.00922].

Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Genomic Analysis and Systems Biology
  • Research Area: Plant Systems and Feedstocks, Plant-Microbe Interactions
  • Research Area: Biosystems Design

Division: SC-33.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER


BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Mar 23, 2021
Molecular Connections from Plants to Fungi to Ants
Lipids transfer energy and serve as an inter-kingdom communication tool in leaf-cutter ants&rsqu [more...]

Mar 19, 2021
Microbes Use Ancient Metabolism to Cycle Phosphorus
Microbial cycling of phosphorus through reduction-oxidation reactions is older and more widespre [more...]

Feb 22, 2021
Warming Soil Means Stronger Microbe Networks
Soil warming leads to more complex, larger, and more connected networks of microbes in those soi [more...]

Jan 27, 2021
Labeling the Thale Cress Metabolites
New data pipeline identifies metabolites following heavy isotope labeling.

Analysis [more...]

Aug 31, 2020
Novel Bacterial Clade Reveals Origin of Form I Rubisco

  • All plant biomass is sourced from the carbon-fixing enzyme Rub [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)