Various types biotic stresses affect growth and production of agricultural crops, among them viruses are of most concern which cause yield losses in all field crops; challenging global food security. Enhancement of host resistance against plant viruses is a priority for effective management of plant viral diseases. In the present context of climate change scenario, plant viruses are rapidly evolving and defeating the host resistance. Advances in genome editing techniques such as CRISPR-Cas9 [clustered regularly interspaced palindromic repeats-CRISPR-associated 9] have been recognized as a promising tool for the development of plant virus resistance. CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing tool is widely preferred due to high target specificity, simple, efficient, and reproducible genetic manipulation. CRISPR-Cas9 based virus resistance in plants has been successfully achieved through gene targeting and cleaving viral genome or altering the plant genome to enhance plant innate immunity. In this article, we have outlined the CRISPR-Cas9 system, plant immunity against viruses and use of CRISPR-Cas9 system to engineer virus resistance in plants. We also discuss prospects and challenges on the use of CRISPR-Cas9-mediated plant virus resistance in crop improvement.
Keywords: CRISPR, Cas9, Plant innate immunity, Plant virus, Genome editing, crop improvement, food security, RNA.
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