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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2016

Significant increase of oleic acid level in the wild species Lepidium campestre through direct gene silencing

Ivarson, Emelie; Ahlman, Annelie; Lager, Ida; Zhu, Li-Hua


Simultaneous RNAi silencing of the FAD2 and FAE1 genes in the wild species Lepidium campestre improved the oil quality with 80 % oleic acid content compared to 11 % in wildtype.Field cress (Lepidium campestre) is a wild biennial species within the Brassicaceae family with desirable agronomic traits, thus being a good candidate for domestication into a new oilseed and catch crop. However, it has agronomic traits that need to be improved before it can become an economically viable species. One of such traits is the seed oil composition, which is not desirable either for food use or for industrial applications. In this study, we have, through metabolic engineering, altered the seed oil composition in field cress into a premium oil for food processing, industrial, or chemical industrial applications. Through seed-specific RNAi silencing of the field cress fatty acid desaturase 2 (FAD2) and fatty acid elongase 1 (FAE1) genes, we have obtained transgenic lines with an oleic acid content increased from 11 % in the wildtype to over 80 %. Moreover, the oxidatively unstable linolenic acid was decreased from 40.4 to 2.6 %, and the unhealthy erucic acid was reduced from 20.3 to 0.1 %. The high oleic acid trait has been kept stable for three generations. This shows the possibility to use field cress as a platform for genetic engineering of oil compositions tailor-made for its end uses.


Field cress; Lepidium campestre; Metabolic engineering; Oleic acid; LcFAD2/LcFAE1-RNAi

Published in

Plant Cell Reports
2016, Volume: 35, number: 10, pages: 2055-2063
Publisher: SPRINGER