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Label-Free Detection of Transgenic Crops Using an Isothermal Amplification Reporting CRISPR/Cas12 Assay

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posted on 2021-12-17, 09:45 authored by Xiaoying Zhu, Hao Yang, Mian Wang, Minghua Wu, Mohammad Rizwan Khan, Aimin Luo, Sha Deng, Rosa Busquets, Guiping He, Ruijie Deng
Current tools for detecting transgenic crops, such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR), require professional equipment and complex operation. Herein, we introduce a clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas system to analyze transgenes by designing an isothermal amplification to serve as the amplified reporter, allowing an isothermal and label-free detection of transgenic crops. The use of Cas12a allowed direct and specific recognition of transgenes. To enhance the sensitivity of the assay, we used rolling circle amplification (RCA) to monitor the recognition of transgenes by designing the RCA primer as the cleavage substrate of Cas12a. The presence of transgenes can be detected by monitoring the G-quadruplex in RCA amplicon using a G-quadruplex binding dye, N-methyl mesoporphyrin IX (NMM). We termed the assay as isoCRISPR and showed that the assay allowed distinguishing transgenic corn cultivars (“Bt11” and “MON89034”) from nontransgenic corn cultivars (“yellow”, “shenyu”, “xianyu”, and “jingke”). The isoCRISPR assay will enrich the toolbox for transgenic crop identification and broaden the application of CRISPR/Cas in food authenticity and safety.

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