Gene-editing tools such as clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats – CRISPR/Cas – enable plant scientists to determine the functions of myriad plant genes. While the studies could eventually lead to creation of crops with improved traits, researchers first need a good way to record increasingly large amounts of data.

Researchers at the Boyce Thompson Institute in Ithaca, New York, have developed the Plant Genome Editing Database to be a central repository for managing plant-mutant data. The database also enables sharing of data and mutants in the research community. The database’s developers said they hope it will lead to more efficient use of resources by reducing unnecessary duplicate experiments and catalyzing collaborations among research institutions. The researchers recently published a call for data submission in the journal “Molecular Plant.”

“We’ve used CRISPR/Cas to make more than 430 different lines, and that’s just in tomato,” said Greg Martin, co-corresponding author at the Boyce Thompson Institute.

Martin is a professor of plant pathology and plant-microbe biology.

“The main problem initially was how to keep track of them all, so that was the primary motivation behind creating the database,” he said. “Many plant-biology laboratories are doing CRISPR/Cas research these days and everyone is going to face this problem.”

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