Agrobacterium-mediated Transformation of Brassica juncea with a Cyanobacterial (Synechocystis PCC6803) Delta-6 Desaturase Gene Leads to Production of Gamma-linolenic Acid

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Genetic manipulation of the oil-yielding crop plants for better oil quality through biotechnological methods is an important aspect of crop improvement. Due to the inherent absence of the Δ6-desaturase (d6D) function, Brassica juncea, an oil-yielding crop plant, is unable to synthesize α-linolenic acid (GLA), a nutritionally important fatty acid although the crop plant synthesizes the precursor fatty acids required for GLA production. Cyanobacterial d6D introduces carbon–carbon double bond onto linoleic acid (C18:2) and α-linolenic acid (C18:3) by desaturation processes for production of GLA and octadecatetraenoic acid (OTA) respectively. In the present investigation, d6D coding sequence from Synechocystis sp. PCC6803 was cloned by polymerase chain reaction and introduced into B. juncea through Agrobacterium- mediated transformation technique. Both cytosolic as well as seed-specific expression of d6D were attempted. The transformed plants show production of GLA and OTA in contrast to their absence in the untransformed control plants adducing evidence for introgression and functional expression of the cyanobacterial d6D gene in B. juncea.

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