Transgenic Research

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 221–229 | Cite as

Towards the production of high levels of eicosapentaenoic acid in transgenic plants: the effects of different host species, genes and promoters

  • Bifang Cheng
  • Guohai Wu
  • Patricia Vrinten
  • Kevin Falk
  • Joerg Bauer
  • Xiao QiuEmail author
Original Paper


Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5n-3) plays an important role in many aspects of human health. In our efforts towards producing high levels of EPA in plants, we investigated the effects of different host species, genes and promoters on EPA biosynthesis. Zero-erucic acid Brassica carinata appeared to be an outstanding host species for EPA production, with EPA levels in transgenic seed of this line reaching up to 25%. Two novel genes, an 18-carbon ω3 desaturase (CpDesX) from Claviceps purpurea and a 20-carbon ω3 desaturase (Pir-ω3) from Pythium irregulare, proved to be very effective in increasing EPA levels in high-erucic acid B. carinata. The conlinin1 promoter from flax functioned reasonably well in B. carinata, and can serve as an alternative to the napin promoter from B. napus. In summary, the judicious selection of host species and promoters, together with the inclusion of genes that enhance the basic very long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid biosynthetic pathway, can greatly influence the production of EPA in plants.


Eicosapentaenoic acid Brassica carinata B. juncea Transformation 



The authors thank Dr. D. Potts for providing the B. juncea germplasm.

Supplementary material

11248_2009_9302_MOESM_ESM.doc (310 kb)
(DOC 310 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bifang Cheng
    • 1
    • 2
  • Guohai Wu
    • 1
  • Patricia Vrinten
    • 1
  • Kevin Falk
    • 2
  • Joerg Bauer
    • 3
  • Xiao Qiu
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Bioriginal Food and Science CorporationSaskatoonCanada
  2. 2.Agriculture and Agri-Food CanadaSaskatoon Research CentreSaskatoonCanada
  3. 3.BASF Plant Science GmbHLimburgerhofGermany
  4. 4.Department of Food and Bioproduct SciencesUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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