Mutagenesis of the FAE1 genes significantly changes fatty acid composition in seeds of Camelina sativa

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Camelina sativa is a re-emerging low-input oilseed crop that has great potentials. It is necessary to ameliorate camelina oils for optimized fatty acid composition that can meet different application requirements. Camelina seed contains significant amounts of C20-C24 very long-chain fatty acids (VLCFAs) that may not be desirable. We demonstrated that these VLCFAs can be effectively reduced by deactivating the Fatty Acid Elongase1 (FAE1) in camelina. The allohexaploid camelina contains three alleles of FAE1 genes. Ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS) induced mutation at the FAE1-B gene caused over 60% reduction of VLCFAs in seed. Homozygous knockout mutants were successfully created in a single generation by simultaneously targeting three FAE1 alleles using the CRISPR technology with an egg cell-specific Cas9 expression. VLCFAs were reduced to less than 2% of total fatty acids compared to over 22% in the wild type, and the C18 unsaturated fatty acids were concomitantly increased. The fae1 mutants were indistinguishable from wild type in seed physiology and plant growth. This study demonstrated that the CRISPR/Cas9 technology can be effectively applied to the polyploid crop camelina to rapidly obtain desired traits such as optimal fatty acid composition in its seed oil. Knocking out FAE1 also provides a means to increase the levels of oleic acid or α-linolenic acid in camelina oils that are desirable for industrial or food/feed uses.




Ozseyhan, Mehmet E., Jinling Kang, Xiaopeng Mu, and Chaofu Lu. "Mutagenesis of the FAE1 genes significantly changes fatty acid composition in seeds of Camelina sativa." Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 123 (February 2018): 1-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2017.11.021.
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