The Forest Research Institute’s Forest Biotechnology Research Center (Hitachi City, Ibaraki Prefecture) reports progress on the development of a pollen-less cedar by genome editing of “seminal trees” which grow fast and straight. In the transgenic plant, a single nucleotide has been deleted by CRISPR/Cas9 in the gene responsible for the outer wall of the pollen, inhibiting the production of mature pollen in male flowers. The genome-edited cedars are crossed with wild-type individuals to remove the foreign genes encoding Cas9 and guide RNA, and the resulting seeds contain no foreign genes. Pollen-free cedars could reduce the frequent pollen allergies in Japan by gradually substituting present cedar trees. The institute plans for regulatory submission in 2026.
Nikkei Biotech news release, November 18, 2021