Genome-editing technologies based on the CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat) system have been widely used in plants to investigate gene function and improve crop traits. The recently developed DNA-free delivery methods and precise base-editing systems provide new opportunities for plant genome engineering. In this review, we describe the novel DNA-free genome-editing methods in plants. These methods reduce off-target effects and may alleviate regulatory concern about genetically modified plants. We also review applications of base-editing systems, which are highly effective in generating point mutations and are of great value for introducing agronomically valuable traits. Future perspectives for DNA-free editing and base editing are also discussed.

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