Crop Biotech Update

GM Camelina Could Replace Fish Oil as Primary Source of Fatty Acids

January 27, 2016

A research conducted at the University of East Anglia (UEA) showed that oil from genetically modified (GM) oil seed crops could replace fish oil as a primary source of the beneficial Omega-3 fatty acid EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). 

The UEA research team studied mice consuming feed enriched with oil from GM Camelina sativa developed at Rothamsted Research to see if mammals (using mice as a model) could absorb and accumulate EPA from this source of omega-3s. They examined the levels of EPA in various organs in the body, and tested tissue concentrations of fatty acids in liver, brain, and muscle tissue of the mice. They also checked its effect on the expression of genes key for regulating the way the body processes fats.

"The mice were fed with a control diet similar to a Westernized human diet, along with supplements of EPA from genetically engineered Camelina sativa or fish oil, for ten weeks – enough time for any beneficial results to be seen," said lead researcher Professor Anne-Marie Minihane, from UEA's Norwich Medical School. "We found that the genetically engineered oil is a bioavailable source of EPA, with comparable benefits for the liver to eating oily fish."

For more information about this research, read the news release at Rothamsted Research.