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Nat Biotechnol. 2005 Aug;23(8):1013-7. Epub 2005 Jun 12.

Stepwise engineering to produce high yields of very long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in plants.

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Bioriginal Food & Science Corporation, 110 Gymnasium Place, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada S7N 0W9.


Very long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (VLCPUFAs) such as arachidonic acid (AA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are valuable commodities that provide important human health benefits. We report the transgenic production of significant amounts of AA and EPA in Brassica juncea seeds via a stepwise metabolic engineering strategy. Using a series of transformations with increasing numbers of transgenes, we demonstrate the incremental production of VLCPUFAs, achieving AA levels of up to 25% and EPA levels of up to 15% of total seed fatty acids. Both fatty acids were almost exclusively found in triacylglycerols, with AA located preferentially at sn-2 and sn-3 positions and EPA distributed almost equally at all three positions. Moreover, we reconstituted the DHA biosynthetic pathway in plant seeds, demonstrating the practical feasibility of large-scale production of this important omega-3 fatty acid in oilseed crops.

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