Plant breeding: Using ‘invisible’ chromosomes to pass on packages of positive traits

The ideal crop plant is tasty and high-yielding while also being resistant to diseases and pests. But if the relevant genes are far apart on a chromosome, some of these positive traits can be lost during breeding. To ensure that positive traits can be passed on together, researchers have used CRISPR/Cas molecular scissors to invert and thus genetically deactivate nine-tenths of a chromosome. The traits coded for on this part of the chromosome become ‘invisible’ for genetic exchange and can thus be passed on unchanged.