Utilizing CRISPR in A. thaliana for Zinc Enrichment via Upregulation of Heavy-Metal ATPase 4 (HMA-4)
Yared, Noah Assefa
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Until recently, the phenomenon in which cereal grain plants take up trace metals such as iron, zinc, and magnesium was not very well understood. In addition, with the need to address the ever growing need of global hunger and malnourishment among third world countries, wild type cereal grains show signs of depleted trace metal stores in their seeds, thus leading to complications that specifically target women and children. With these real world problems in mind, we sought to utilize the new gene editing system: Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat (CRISPR) to heighten the activity of HMA4, an ATP-powered pump known to help facilitate zinc into the plant system. In a simple model cereal grain, Arabidopsis thaliana (A. Thaliana), CRISPR will modify HMA4 Zn2+ and as a result, upregulate uptake of zinc ions into an embryonic seed. With this information, we hope address the problem of zinc deficiency in at-risk populations with this new technology.