27 March 2019
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We have been evaluating the possibility of producing omega-3 LC-PUFAs in different transgenic hosts, to provide a sustainable source of these important nutrients, and specifically to meet the needs of the aquaculture sector.
Attempts to metabolically engineer plants with the primary algal biosynthetic pathway for LC-PUFAs has been successfully carried out in the oilseed crop Camelina, allowing insights into factors constraining the accumulation of these fatty acids in non-native hosts. The use of lipidomics (including advanced metabolite imaging techniques) has allowed us to identify further metabolic bottlenecks in the transgenic pathway, ultimately leading to the breakthrough production of a transgenic oilseed crop which contains up to 30% omega-3 LC-PUFAs in its seed oil. This omega-3 trait represents probably the most complex plant metabolic engineering to undergo field-trials to date – we will report on our most recent observations from environmental releases in both the UK and N. America.
We have also evaluated the use of GM Camelina seed oil as a replacement for fish oil in aquafeed diets, observing effective substitution in feeds for salmon and sea bream. These data further confirm the potential of these novel oils and their potential role in human nutrition, direct or otherwise
Professor Johnathan Napier is a leading pioneer in plant biotechnology and a Flagship Leader at Rothamsted Research, one of the oldest agricultural research institutions in the world. At Rothamsted, Professor Napier leads a team running the only GM field trials in the UK, evaluating the performance of metabolically engineered oilseeds to accumulate omega-3 fish oils.
He completed his PhD in Plant Biochemistry from King's College London and post-doctoral research at the University of Cambridge. He has published over 160 peer-reviewed papers and is the inventor on multiple patents relating to the biotechnology of lipid metabolism.
SCI14/15 Belgrave Square
Tel: +44 (0)20 75981561
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