Analysis of oil content in the transgenic lines and wild-type of Lepidium campestre
Abstract: The world's population is increasing and will be reaching up to 9 billion by 2050. More food needs to be produced in order to satisfy the growing demand in the future. Meanwhile there are increased focuses on the food we produce, which are healthier and have less negative impact on the environment. There is an urgent need for alternative oil sources. One of such alternative sources could be plant oils, and therefore the need of domesticating new oil crops is becoming obvious due to the limited numbers of the oil crops available in commercial production. At SLU in Alnarp, the screening work for identification of suitable oil producing wild Brassicaceae species for domestication began in the late 80's by the late Professor Arnulf Merker, using conventional plant breeding approaches. Then, Field cress (Lepidium campestre) was selected for domestication based on its agronomic and other desirable characters. Today, the rapid development of modern plant breeding methods, such as marker assisted selection, genome wide association studies, genomic selection and genetic engineering have provided us with an unprecedented opportunity for rapid domestication of wild plant species. In an ongoing PhD project, Emelie Ivarson is developing a potential future oil and catch crop - field cress using genetic transformation. One of the purposes of this PhD project is to increase the oil content by means of genetic modification. One strategy for increasing the oil content is to overexpress the haemoglobin gene (VHb) isolated from the bacterium Vitreoscilla. In this Bachelor project, we evaluated the oil content of seeds of transgenic lines of field cress transformed with the VHb gene by Emelie Ivarson and compared it with that of the wild-type (Control). The oil was extracted according to standard method used in the lab and gas chromatography was used for analyzing the oil content. Though this study did not show any statistically significant differences in oil content between the transgenic lines and the control, the highest and lowest values were recorded in the transgenic lines. Additional studies are required to fully understand the effect of VHb gene on seed oil content.
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