Co-expression of the borage Δ6 desaturase and the Arabidopsis Δ15 desaturase results in high accumulation of stearidonic acid in the seeds of transgenic soybean

Helene Eckert, Brad LaVallee, Bruce J. Schweiger, Anthony J. Kinney, Edgar B. Cahoon, Tom Clemente

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

79 Scopus citations


Two relatively rare fatty acids, γ-linolenic acid (GLA) and stearidonic acid (STA), have attracted much interest due to their nutraceutical and pharmaceutical potential. STA, in particular, has been considered a valuable alternative source for omega-3 fatty acids due to its enhanced conversion efficiency in animals to eicosapentaenoic acid when compared with the more widely consumed omega-3 fatty acid, α-linolenic acid (ALA), present in most vegetable oils. Exploiting the wealth of information currently available on in planta oil biosynthesis and coupling this information with the tool of genetic engineering it is now feasible to deliberately perturb fatty acid pools to generate unique oils in commodity crops. In an attempt to maximize the STA content of soybean oil, a borage Δ6 desaturase and an Arabidopsis Δ15 desaturase were pyramided by either sexual crossing of transgenic events, re-transformation of a Δ6 desaturase event with the Δ15 desaturase or co-transformation of both desaturases. Expression of both desaturases in this study was under the control of the seed-specific soybean β-conglycinin promoter. Soybean events that carried only the Δ15 desaturase possessed a significant elevation of ALA content, while events with both desaturases displayed a relative STA abundance greater than 29%, creating a soybean with omega-3 fatty acids representing over 60% of the fatty acid profile. Analyses of the membrane lipids in a subset of the transgenic events suggest that soybean seeds compensate for enhanced production of polyunsaturated fatty acids by increasing the relative content of palmitic acid in phosphatidylcholine and other phospholipids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1050-1057
Number of pages8
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2006


  • Agrobacterium
  • Glycine max
  • γ-Linolenic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Plant Science

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Co-expression of the borage Δ<sup>6</sup> desaturase and the Arabidopsis Δ<sup>15</sup> desaturase results in high accumulation of stearidonic acid in the seeds of transgenic soybean'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this