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Crop Biotech Update

Transgenic Production of Arachidonic Acid in Oilseeds

May 6, 2011

Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids such as arachidonic acid (ARA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)  are important to human health and development, especially on infant cognitive development. Deficiency in ARA may lead to hair loss, fatty liver degeneration, anemia, and reduced fertility in adults. This led James Petrie of the CSIRO Plant Industry and other scientists to develop oilseeds Brassica napus and Arabidopsis thaliana that produce ARA. They induced seed-specific expression of a microalgal pathway (D9-elongase) into the genetic material of the oilseeds. Approximately 20% of the A. thaliana seed oil is ARA, while in B. napus, it comprised 10% of the total seed oil. Majority of ARA was located at the sn-2 position of triacylglycerol.

Read the abstract of this study at http://www.springerlink.com/content/4j31037031617715/.