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This review focuses on how microspore-derived (MD) embros and cell suspension cultures of oilseed rape have been used to advance our understanding of the biochemistry and molecular biology of lipid biosynthesis in plants. Both types of cultures are easily maintained and circumvent the difficulties associated with using developing seeds for investigations of lipid biosynthesis. Developing MD embryos exhibit a similar storage lipid accumulation profile and fatty acid composition to developing seed. The use of dihaploids derived from plantlets of MD embryos have accelerated breeding programs and have proven useful in the detection of recessive mutations. MD embryos and MD cell suspension cultures have been particularly useful in investigating the properties of key enzymes involved in triacylglycerol (TG) bioassembly. MD cell suspension cultures, however, offer the advantage of being able to study lipid metabolism in the absence of cellular differentiation. TG accumulation can be induced in MD cell suspension cultures by increasing the sucrose concentration of the growth medium thereby providing a useful system to investigate gene expression and the proteomics of lipid biosynthesis.