Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) deficiency and a skewed n6:n3 fatty acid ratio in the diet is a major explanation for the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases and inflammatory/autoimmune diseases. There is mounting evidence of the health benefits associated with omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC PUFA’s). Although present in abundance in fish, a number of factors limit our consumption of fish based omega-3 PUFA’s. To name a few, overexploitation of wild fish stocks has reduced their sustainability due to increased demand of aquaculture for fish oil and meal; the pollution of marine food webs has raised concerns over the ingestion of toxic substances such as heavy metals and dioxins; vegetarians do not consider fish-based sources for supplemental nutrition. Thus alternative sources are being sought and one approach to the sustainable supply of LC-PUFAs is the metabolic engineering of transgenic plants with the capacity to synthesize n3 LC-PUFAs. The present investigation was carried out with the goal of developing transgenic safflower capable of producing pharmaceutically important alpha-linolenic acid (ALA, C18:3, n3). This crop was selected as the seeds accumulate ~ 78% of the total fatty acids as linoleic acid (LA, C18:2, n6), the immediate precursor of ALA. In the present work, ALA production was achieved successfully in safflower seeds by transforming safflower hypocotyls with Arabidopsis specific delta 15 desaturase (FAD3) driven by truncated seed specific promoter. Transgenic safflower fortified with ALA is not only potentially valuable nutritional superior novel oil but also has reduced ratio of LA to ALA which is required for good health.
Transgenic Research – Springer Journals
Published: May 11, 2018
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