Modification of Plant Lipid Synthesis

Science  05 May 1995:
Vol. 268, Issue 5211, pp. 681-686
DOI: 10.1126/science.268.5211.681


Genetic engineering of new storage oils and fats has produced oil crop plants with fatty acid compositions unattainable by plant breeding alone. The combination of classical breeding methods with molecular techniques provides new ways for designing oils for food and nonfood uses. Alterations in the position and number of double bonds, variation in fatty acid chain length, and the introduction of desired functional groups have already been achieved in model systems. Short-term prospects include crops such as rapeseed or soybean engineered to have greater than 70 to 80 percent medium-chain fatty acids by content, greater than 90 percent oleic acid, and high erucic acid content, and engineered to form ricinoleic acid in seed storage tissues.