Crop Biotech Update

NTU Researchers Genetically Modify Key Protein in Plants to Increase Seed Oil Yield

April 24, 2019

Scientists at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have developed a sustainable way to increase the natural oil in seeds by up to 15 percent in laboratory conditions.

The team, led by Assistant Professor Wei Ma genetically modified a key protein in plants which regulates the amount of oil they produce, resulting in larger oil reserves in the seed that primarily serves as an energy source for germination. The team's discovery which has a pending patent involves the protein known as "Wrinkled1" or "WRI1", which regulates plants' oil production. After modification, the seeds have a wrinkled appearance, which is the basis for its name.

This method has applications to other crops such as canola, soybean, and sunflower. The increased yield in seed oil also benefits the production of biofuels, according to Professor Ma.

For more details, read the news article at the NTU Singapore website.