Proceedings of the Nutrition Society

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Meeting Report

The production of very-long-chain PUFA biosynthesis in transgenic plants: towards a sustainable source of fish oils

Johnathan A. Napiera1 c1 and Olga Sayanovaa1

a1 Crop Performance and Improvement Division, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, Herts, AL5 2JQ, UK

Article author query

Napier JA [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
Sayanova O [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]


There is now considerable evidence of the importance of n-3 long-chain PUFA in human health and development. At the same time, the marine fish stocks that serve as the primary sources of these fatty acids are threatened by continued over-exploitation. Thus, there is an urgent need to provide a sustainable alternative source of the n-3 long-chain PUFA normally found in fish oils. The possibility of using transgenic plants genetically engineered to synthesise these important fatty acids has recently been demonstrated. The approaches taken to realise this outcome will be discussed, as will their prospects for providing a sustainable resource for the future.

Key Words: Desaturase; Elongase; PUFA; Transgenic plants; Sustainability


c1 *Corresponding author: Professor Johnathan Napier, fax +44 1582 763010,