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Crop Biotech Update

Flax PDCT Genes Increase Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid in Yeast and Arabidopsis

July 8, 2015

Flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) seed oil is enriched in α-linolenic acid. This polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) determines the quality of flax seed oil in food and industrial applications. The enzyme phosphatidylcholine diacylglycerol cholinephosphotransferase (PDCT) has been shown to play an important role in PUFA accumulation in Arabidopsis thaliana seeds.

A research team from the University of Alberta in Canada, led by Randall J. Weselake, isolated and characterized two PDCT genes from flax, LuPDCT1 and LuPDCT2. Seed-specific expression of the flax PDCT genes in A. thaliana without its PDCT gene, AtROD1, resulted in increases in PUFAs. PUFA levels also increased in Saccharomyces cerevisiae expressing the flax PDCTs.

The novel PDCT genes from flax were capable of increasing PUFA levels in yeast and transgenic A. thaliana seeds. These indicate that the flax PDCTs would be useful for engineering oil crops to increase PUFA levels for applications in human food, animal feed, and industrial products.

For more on the study, read the full article on BMC Biotechnology.