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Crop Biotech Update

Enhancement of Fatty Acid Composition in Camelina using CRISPR/Cas9

January 18, 2017

The CRISPR/Cas9 system is a powerful genome editing tool, and its applications has been developed at a fast pace. Wen Zhi Jiang of University of Nebraska, together with colleagues, used CRISPR/Cas9 to target the FAD2 gene in the emerging oil seed plant, Camelina sativa, in hopes of improving seed oil composition.

In the allohexaploid Camelina, guide RNAs were designed to simultaneously target all three homoeologous FAD2 genes. The team then successfully obtained Camelina seeds with increased oleic acid content in the fatty acid composition. These increases were associated with significant decreases in the less desirable polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as linoleic acid and linolenic acid.

These changes in fatty acid composition resulted in healthier and more oxidatively stable oils, as well as improved suitability for production of certain commercial chemicals.

For more on the study, read the article in Plant Biotechnology Journal.