The purpose of this project is to optimize the CRISPR technology for citrus genome editing. This study is related to the CRDF RMC-18 Research Priorities 4AB. Objective 1. Expanding the toolbox of citrus genome editing. In this study, we will adapt StCas9, NmCas9, AsCpf1 (from Acidaminococcus), FnCpf1 (from Francisella novicida) and LbCpf1 (from Lachnospiraceae) on genome modification of citrus. Lately, we have shown CRISPR-Cpf1 can be readily used as a powerful tool for citrus genome editing. In our recent study, we employed CRISPR-LbCas12a (LbCpf1), which is derived from Lachnospiraceae bacterium ND2006, to edit a citrus genome for the first time. Our study showed that CRISPR-LbCas12a can readily be used as a powerful tool for citrus genome editing. One manuscript entitled CRISPR-LbCas12a-mediated modification of citrus has been published on Plant Biotechnol J. We are currently further optimizing LbCas12a-crRNA-mediated genome editing to make homologous biallelic mutations. We are also testing AsCpf1 and FnCpf1 for their application in citrus genome editing and generating homologous biallelic mutations. We have successfully generated both homozygous and biallelic mutations in the EBE region of LOB1 gene in pumlo. This work has been submitted for publication. We are in the process of generating homozygous and biallelic lines of other citrus varieties.Recently, we have developed multiplex genome editing toolkits for citrus including a PEG mediated protoplast transformation, a GFP reporter system that allows rapid assessment of the CRISPR constructs, citrus U6 promoters with improved efficacy, tRNA-mediated or Csy4-mediated multiplex genome editing. Using the toolkits, we have successfully conducted genome modification of embryogenic protoplast cells and epicotyl tissues. We have achieved a biallelic mutation rate of 44.4% and a homozygous mutation rate of 11.1%, indicating that the CRISPR-mediated citrus genome editing technology is mature and could be implemented in citrus genetic improvement as a viable approach. In addition, our study lay the foundation for non-transgenic genome editing of citrus. One manuscript entitled Development of multiplex genome editing toolkits for citrus with high efficacy in biallelic and homozygous mutations has been published on Plant Molecular Biology.We have successfully developed base editing tools for citrus genome editing. This method has been succefully used to generate non-transgenic biallelic mutants of sweet orange. Objective 2. Optimization of the CRISPR-Cas mediated genome editing of citrus. In this study, we are testing different promoters including INCURVATA2 promoter, the cell division-specific YAO promoter, and the germ-line-specific SPOROCYTELESS promoter, and ubiquitin promoter in driving the expression of Cas9 and Cpf1 orthologs. To optimize the expression of sgRNA and crRNA, we have identified multiple citrus U6 promoters and two of the citrus U6 promoters showed higher efficacy in driving gene expression in citrus than 35S promoter and Arabidopsis U6 promoter. We have further increased the mutation efficacy to 50%. We have further optimized the CRISPR/Cas9 system. Now, the biallelic mutation rate reaches 89% for Carrizo citrange and 79% for Hamlin sweet orange. We have generated one homozygous line in the promoter region of canker susceptibility genes of Hamlin. We have successfully generated one biallelic mutant of grapefruit that is canker resistant. We also successfully generated multiple biallelic and homozygous mutant lines of sweet orange that are canker resistant. Objective 3. Optimization of the CRISPR technology to generate foreign DNA free genome editing in citrus. We have conducted transient expression of Cas9/sgRNA plasmid and Cas9 protein/sgRNA ribonucleoprotein complex in citrus protoplast. We are also conducting citrus genome editing using Cpf1/crRNA plasmids and ribonucleoprotein complex in citrus protoplast. The plasmid-transformed protoplast has 1.7% editing efficiency, and the RNP-transformed samples have approximately 3.4% efficiency. The genome modified protoplast cells are undergoing regeneration. We aim to increase the efficacy to over 20% and eventually generate non-transgenic genome modified citrus. One patent has been filed on the CRISPR-Cas mediated genome editing of citrus. We have lately optimized the citrus protoplast isolation and manipulation, our data showed that more than 98% of the isolated protoplasts were alive. We regularly obtained a transfection efficiency of approximately 66% or above. ErCas12a has been succes for non-transgenic gene editing of embryogenic Hamlin sweet orange protoplast cells. We are editing 6 putative HLB susceptibility genes for sweet orange. One biallelic mutant line has been generated for ACD2. We have successfully adapted the adenine base editors (ABE) to modify the TATA box in the promoter region of the canker susceptibility gene LOB1 from TATA to CACA in grapefruit and Hamlin sweet orange. Inoculation of the TATA-edited plants with the canker pathogen Xanthomonas citri subsp. Citri (Xcc) demonstrated that the TATA-edited plants were resistant to Xcc. In addition, cytosine base editors (CBE) was successfully used to edit the acetolactate synthase (ALS) gene of Carrizo citrange, a hybrid of Citrus sinensis `Washington’ sweet orange X Poncirus trifoliata. Editing the ALS genes conferred resistance of Carrizo to the herbicide chlorsulfuron. Two ALS-edited Carrizo plants did not show green florescence although the starting construct for transformation contains a GFP expression cassette. We performed PCR amplification for Cas9 gene in the mutant plants and found that Cas9 gene was undetectable in the herbicide resistant citrus plants. This indicates that the ALS edited plants are transgene-free, representing the first transgene-free gene-edited citrus using the CRISPR technology. In summary, we have successfully adapted the base editors for precise citrus gene editing. The CBE base editor has been used to generate transgene-free citrus via transient expression. This work has been been published by Frontiers in genome editing. In addition, we are further developing non-transgenic genome editing technology using ALS gene as a selection marker.