NTU Researchers Genetically Modify Key Protein in Plants to Increase Seed Oil Yield
Scientists at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore)
have developed a sustainable way to increase the natural oil in seeds by up
to 15 percent in laboratory conditions.
The team, led by Assistant Professor Wei Ma genetically modified a key
protein in plants which regulates the amount of oil they produce, resulting
in larger oil reserves in the seed that primarily serves as an energy source
for germination. The team's discovery which has a pending patent involves
the protein known as "Wrinkled1" or "WRI1", which regulates plants' oil
production. After modification, the seeds have a wrinkled appearance, which
is the basis for its name.
This method has applications to other crops such as canola, soybean, and
sunflower. The increased yield in seed oil also benefits the production of
biofuels, according to Professor Ma.