Biotech Updates

GM Oilseed to Produce More Healthful Oil

June 22, 2012

Rothamsted Research scientists are studying the genes from marine organisms that make omega-3 oils to use them in crops. Omega-3 fatty acids are important in our diet because they protect us from heart ailments and provide nutrients for lactating mothers, explained Rothamsted's Director Maurice Moloney during his talk at Cereals 2012 held on June 12-13 at Boothby Graffoe, Lincolnshire, England. He stressed that when the right genes from marine organisms are used in oilseeds and linseeds, omega-3 fatty acids in human diet would be improved and at the same time ease the pressure on declining fish supply.

"Our suggestion to solve the sustainability problem is to look at the metabolism in these omega-3 long chain fatty acids in the native organisms - primarily micro algae, singled celled photosynthetic organisms…Those genes have been cloned in a variety of plant models. We could reestablish the metabolic pathway of those algae in oilseeds…If we do that, we can grow our oilseeds adjusted as we grow oilseeds right now," Moloney explained.

The oil produced from GM oilseeds may be packaged into capsules as supplements for lactating mothers who need the oil for their children's development. The oil could also be added to yoghurts and soft drinks, which are appetizing for children.

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