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Crop Biotech Update

Rapeseed with Increased Oleic Acid Generated through CRISPR

May 9, 2018

The CRISPR-Cas9 system has been widely used for modifying endogenous genes. Thus, it is expected to be applied for the breeding of other economically important plant species. A research team led by Ayako Okuzaki from Tamagawa University in Japan recently modified a fatty acid desaturase 2 gene (FAD2), which encodes an enzyme that catalyzes the desaturation of oleic acid, in rapeseed (Brassica napus) cultivar, Westar.

Two guide RNAs were designed to target the BnaA.FAD2.a gene and two mature plants with mutant alleles were generated. Plants with the fad2_Aa allele without any transgenes were selected from the backcross progenies and plants homozygous for fad2_Aa were then produced by self-crossing the BC1 progenies. The fatty acid composition analysis of their seeds revealed a significant increase in the content of oleic acid compared to wild types.

These results showed that the application of the CRISPR-Cas9 system is useful in producing desirable mutant plants with agronomically suitable traits by modifying their metabolic pathway.

For more information, read the article in Plant Physiology and Biochemistry.