Naturally occurring high oleic acid cottonseed oil: identification and functional analysis of a mutant allele of Gossypium barbadense fatty acid desaturase-2


Main conclusion

Some naturally occurring cotton accessions contain commercially attractive seed oil fatty acid profiles. The likely causal factor for a high-oleate trait in pima cotton ( Gossypium barbadense ) accession GB-713 is described here.

Vegetable oils are broadly used in the manufacture of many human and animal nutritional products, and in various industrial applications. Along with other well-known edible plant oils from soybean, corn, and canola, cottonseed oil is a valuable commodity. Cottonseed oil is a co-product derived from the processing of cottonseed fiber. In the past, it was used extensively in a variety of food applications. However, cottonseed oil has lost market share in recent years due to less than optimal ratios of the constituent fatty acids found in either traditional or partially hydrogenated oil. Increased awareness of the negative health consequences of dietary trans-fats, along with the public wariness associated with genetically modified organisms has created high demand for naturally occurring oil with high monounsaturate/polyunsaturate ratios. Here, we report the discovery of multiple exotic accessions of pima cotton that contain elevated seed oil oleate content. The genome of one such accession was sequenced, and a mutant candidate fatty acid desaturase-2 (FAD2-1D) gene was identified. The mutant protein produced significantly less linoleic acid in infiltrated Arabidopsis leaf assays, compared to a repaired version of the same enzyme. Identification of this gene provides a valuable resource. Development of markers associated with this mutant locus will be very useful in efforts to breed the high-oleate trait into agronomic fiber accessions of upland cotton.

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Fig. 1
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Fig. 5



Cetyltrimethylammonium bromide


Deoxyribonucleic acid


Fatty acid desaturase


Fatty acid methyl ester


Flame ionization detection


Gas chromatography


Generally recognized as safe


Germplasm Resources Information Network


U.S. National Cotton Germplasm Collection


Polymerase chain reaction


Partially hydrogenated oil


Reverse transcription


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The authors would like to thank Ms. Catrina Ford (USDA-ARS, SRRC) for technical assistance in lipid analysis and Dr. John Browse (Washington State University) for the kind gift of the fad2-1 Arabidopsis mutant seeds. We also thank Drs. Christopher Mattison (USDA-ARS, SRRC) and Philip Bates (Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Southern Mississippi) for critical reading of the manuscript. This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service Current Research Information System project numbers 6054-41000-102-00D (to JS, MD, and CM), 3091-21000-037-00D (to JF) and 6054-42000-025-00-D (to BM and MG).

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Correspondence to Jay Shockey.

Additional information

Note added in proof

During the preparation of this manuscript, we learned of a parallel study being conducted by Dr. Kent Chapman and colleagues at the University of North Texas (Denton, TX, USA), that will be published as a companion paper to the work described here. They studied high-oleate G. barbadense accession GB-331, and found a similar mutation in the same region of the FAD2-1D gene.

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Shockey, J., Dowd, M., Mack, B. et al. Naturally occurring high oleic acid cottonseed oil: identification and functional analysis of a mutant allele of Gossypium barbadense fatty acid desaturase-2 . Planta 245, 611–622 (2017).

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  • Cottonseed
  • Fatty acid desaturase
  • Oleic acid
  • Linoleic acid