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First steps to oil production in leaves

Researchers from the US Michigan State University (East Lansing) and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center have developed genetically modified thale cress that produces oil in leaf tissue. The new plants are proof of a concept that could enhance biofuel production as well as lead to improved feeds, the researchers say. The modified plants express a diacylglycerol acyltransferase type two2 (DGTT2) gene from the green algae, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. The transgene alters acyl carbon partitioning in plant vegetative tissues and has a broad range of acyl-CoA substrates. In transformed plant leaves, triacylglycerol (TAG) content was increased, with some molecular species containing very-long-chain fatty acids, the researchers note.

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