Improved production of polyunsaturated fats in oilseed crops will benefit human health and the environment
In research reported this month in The Plant Cell, scientists succeeded in producing genetically modified linseed plants that accumulate significant levels of very long chain poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in seed. This is the first report of the successful engineering of very long chain PUFA into an oilseed crop, and is an excellent example of how genetic engineering of agronomically important species can provide real benefits to human health and nutrition and the environment.
In research reported this month in The Plant Cell, Ernst Heinz at the University of Hamburg (Germany) and colleagues succeeded in producing genetically modified linseed plants that accumulate significant levels of very long chain poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in seed. The work is the result of an international collaboration between scientists at several research institutions in Germany (University of Hamburg, BASF Plant Science GmbH and Forschungszentrum Borstel), Rothamsted Research Station in the U.K., and Kansas State University in the U.S. This research is an excellent example of how genetic engineering of agronomically important species can provide real benefits to human health and nutrition and the environment. As demand rises for edible oils that are low in saturated fats and high in poly-unsaturated fats, in particular very long chain omega 3- and omega 6-poly-unsaturated fats, the production of these oils in plants may reduce environmentally and economically unsustainable pressures on both wild and farmed fisheries.
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