Rothamsted, a UK research center, has given permission to run a series of trials using genetically modified Camelina plants that have been engineered to accumulate omega-3 fish oils in their seeds.
The 5-year approved trials will determine the performance in the field and the seed oil yield of transgenic Camelina plants. A second strand of work will look at the performance of Camelina plants whose metabolism has been altered to increase seed oil content. The final part of the study will investigate the performance of Camelina plants engineered to contain less sinapine in their seeds. Sinapine is a bitter-tasting, antinutritive chemical that can make the protein-rich seed meal less palatable as an animal feed.
The trial also includes appraisal of some gene edited plants, which were reclassified as GM by the EU last year. This part of the trial, using CRISPR-Cas9 gene technology, is looking to boost the amount of oleic acid – used in both food and industrial processes – already in the seeds.
The successful application follows previous GM Camelina trials carried out last year by Rothamsted across two sites in Hertfordshire and Suffolk. A review paper published in collaboration with the University of Stirling and the Norwegian University of Science found that these GM oils are effective substitutes for fish oils in farmed fish. Read paper here.
This experiment is part of Tailoring Plant Metabolism, one of Rothamsted\'s five strategic programs (2017-2022) that receive financial support from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, UK.
The center wants to develop a sustainable source of beneficial oils from plants and provide more of these important nutrients. For more information about the trial, read the GM Camelina Trial: Frequently Asked Questions.