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Multi-gene Engineering Could Enhance Seed Oil in Oilseed Crops

22 May 2014

A team of researchers have published the first study to focus on multiple genes that control steps in the pathway for seed oil production in oilseed crops.

The researchers from Rothamsted Research have found that 'stacking' the right combination of genes can have an additive effect on seed oil content and oil yield.

The research was carried out using the model oilseed plant Arabidopsis thaliana, which is related to oilseed rape.

Until now, only single genes have been altered, despite existing modeling studies showing that multiple steps in the pathway contribute to the overall control of oil production.

Dr Pete Eastmond who led the research said: "We are excited about the potential this technology holds to enhance the oil yield of oilseed crops.

"We see oilseed rape as a potential target, given its value to UK agriculture, but we are keen to keep perspective. It's still a long-hop to translate our work from a model to a crop and from the laboratory to the field."

World production of vegetable oils exceeds 150 million tonnes per year and has risen by approximately 50 per cent in a decade.

May 2014

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