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Key links in oil biosynthesis identified

Key genes governing a feedback loop that regulates oil production in canola seeds have been identified by researchers from the US Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory (Upton, New York). The researchers tested synthetic labelled fatty acid intermediates in the oil biosynthetic pathway on embryonic cell cultures. The metabolites of each labelled intermediate were quantified; with the aim of determining which intermediates inhibited oil production. Rapid, reversible feedback inhibition of fatty acid biosynthesis occurs when the end product inhibits the first committed step in the pathway. Results pointed to the first C18 or longer desaturated fatty acid, produced fairly late in the production process, as the key intermediate that blocks further oil production.

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