Katie Higginbottom’s research on spray-on gene editing highlighted in a New Scientist article

This preprint paper on a new method for spray-on gene editing has rocketed to the 98th percentile of popular work uploaded onto biorxiv within just a few days, and has been retweeted multiple times by many scientists!

The Whitney/Galan/Edwards groups show their new plant transformation method for the first time in this BioRxiv preprint. They detail the production of dot shaped carbon nanomaterials (~200nm) that can attach to plasmid DNA. These dots are readily able to enter plant cells carrying plasmid DNA, allowing transformation of the plant. This technique is notable for it’s remarkable simplicity, as merely spraying a mixture of DNA and carbon dots onto a plant from any conventional mist sprayer is sufficient for transformation. The preprint details their successes with this technique in plants difficult to transform by pre-existing methods, whilst also being considerably low cost, safe, quick, and innately trackable without the need for reporter genes (as the carbon dots innately fluoresce).

This work was covered in a New Scientist article, which contains brief interviews with Dr Heather Whitney and Prof Carmen Galan.

Katie Higginbottom, SWBio DTP student