CRISPR-Cas9-Mediated Gene Editing of MYB28 Genes Impair Glucoraphanin Accumulation of Brassica oleracea in the Field.

Discoveries in model plants grown under optimal conditions can provide important directions for crop improvement. However, it is important to verify whether results can be translated to crop plants grown in the field. In this study, we sought to study the role of MYB28 in the regulation of aliphatic glucosinolate (A-GSL) biosynthesis and associated sulfur metabolism in field-grown Brassica oleracea with the use of Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR)-Cas9 gene-editing technology. We describe the first myb28 knockout mutant in B. oleracea, and the first CRISPR field trial in the United Kingdom approved and regulated by the UK Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs after the reclassification of gene-edited crops as genetically modified organisms by the European Court of Justice on July 25, 2018. We report that knocking out myb28 results in downregulation of A-GSL biosynthesis genes and reduction in accumulation of the methionine-derived glucosinolate, glucoraphanin, in leaves and florets of field-grown myb28 mutant broccoli plants, whereas accumulation of sulfate, S-methyl cysteine sulfoxide, and indole glucosinolate in leaf and floret tissues remained unchanged. These results demonstrate the potential of gene-editing approaches to translate discoveries in fundamental biological processes for improved crop performance.