New research findings support the commercial cultivation of genetically
modified (GM) Camelina sativa, one of Europe's oldest oil seed crops.
Scientists have reproduced results showing that the transgenic camelina
plants can grow in the field. They have matched the seeds' biosynthetic
products more closely to those of their marine counterparts, and have
identified the potential for even greater oil storage in the seeds.
GM camelina, engineered with genes from marine microbes, can produce two
highly sought after omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids
(LC-PUFAs), EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and the even longer chain DHA
(docosahexaenoic acid). EPA and DHA are important in fighting the global
increase in cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders.
Results published by Nature in Scientific Reports show how a second year's
field trial of GM camelina in 2015 confirmed the results from the previous
year. It also shows how the team was able to reduce the level of unnecessary
omega-6 fatty acids in the transgenic seeds to match more closely the mix in
marine fish oils. "Demonstrating that our GM camelina works in the field
under real world conditions confirms the promise of our approach," says
Johnathan Napier, Leader of the Camelina Programme at Rothamsted Research.