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Crop Biotech Update

Downregulation of BnDA1 Improves Seed Weight and Organ Size in Oilseed Rape

February 22, 2017

Oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) is an important oil crop and also a raw material for biofuel. Seed weight and seed size are the main contributors to its seed yield, which directly affect its oil yield. The gene DA1 is known to negatively regulate seed size and downregulation of the DA1 gene in Arabidopsis (AtDA1) leads to larger seeds and organs. Jie-Li Wang from Jiangsu University in China led a team of scientists and downregulated BnDA1 in B. napus by overexpressing AtDA1R358K, a non-functioning form of DA1.

The transgenic plants showed significant increases in the biomass and size of the seeds, cotyledons, leaves, flowers, and siliques. Furthermore, the 1000-seed weight increased by 21.23%, while the seed yield per plant increased by 13.22% in field conditions. The transformation had no negative effects on the yield. 

This study proved that regulation of DA1 gene is a promising target for seed improvement in oilseed rape.

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