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GM Plants Promise Fish Oils Aplenty

08:32 EDT 3 Aug 2017 | Meridian Institute

Researchers have moved a step closer to sourcing fish oils from fields rather than the oceans, thanks to a trio of successful research findings regarding a transgenic variety of Camelina sativa, an oil seed crop. The studies have shown that transgenic plants can grow in the field; that they have seeds with biosynthetic products that closely match those of their marine counterparts; and, that there is potential for even greater oil storage in the seeds. “Demonstrating that our GM camelina works in the field under real world conditions confirms the promise of our approach,” says Johnathan Napier, the leader of the Camelina Program at the United Kingdom-based Rothamsted Research, which led the research. “Having a viable land-based source of omega-3 fish oils can really address the ever-increasing demand for these healthy fatty acids.” Adds Napier, “It is very significant that we can tailor camelina oil to accumulate omega-3 fish oils and that this trait is stable in field-grown plants. Furthermore, our new and unexpected insights into fatty acid accumulation across the seed points towards further opportunities to optimise this. I am convinced that transgenic plants such as ours can help reduce the pressure on oceanic sources of fish oils, and this study brings that one step closer to reality.” The findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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