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Loss of function mutation of the Rapid Alkalinization Factor (RALF1)-like peptide in the dandelion Taraxacum koksaghyz entails a high-biomass taproot phenotype

: Wieghaus, A.; Prüfer, D.; Schulze Gronover, C.

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PLoS one. Online journal 14 (2019), No.5, Art. e0217454, 23 pp.
ISSN: 1932-6203
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IME ()

The Russian dandelion (Taraxacum koksaghyz) is a promising source of inulin and natural rubber because large amounts of both feedstocks can be extracted from its roots. However, the domestication of T. koksaghyz requires the development of stable agronomic traits such as higher yields of inulin and natural rubber, a higher root biomass, and an agronomically preferable root morphology which is more suitable for cultivation and harvesting. Arabidopsis thaliana Rapid Alkalinisation Factor 1 (RALF1) has been shown to suppress root growth. We identified the T. koksaghyz orthologue TkRALF-like 1 and knocked out the corresponding gene (TkRALFL1) using the CRISPR/Cas9 system to determine its impact on root morphology, biomass, and inulin and natural rubber yields. The TkRALFL1 knockout lines more frequently developed a taproot phenotype which is easier to cultivate and harvest, as well as a higher root biomass and greater yields of both inulin and natural rubber. The TkRALFL1 gene could therefore be suitable as a genetic marker to support the breeding of profitable new dandelion varieties with improved agronomic traits. To our knowledge, this is the first study addressing the root system of T. koksaghyz to enhance the agronomic performance.