Increasing the flow of carbon into seed oil

Biotechnol Adv. Nov-Dec 2009;27(6):866-878. doi: 10.1016/j.biotechadv.2009.07.001. Epub 2009 Jul 20.


The demand for vegetable oils for food, fuel (bio-diesel) and bio-product applications is increasing rapidly. In Canada alone, it is estimated that a 50 to 75% increase in canola oil production will be required to meet the demand for seed oil in the next 7-10years. Plant breeding and genetics have demonstrated that seed oil content is a quantitative trait based on a number of contributing factors including embryo genetic effects, cytoplasmic effects, maternal genetic effects, and genotype-environment interactions. Despite the involvement of numerous quantitative trait loci in determining seed oil content, genetic engineering to over-express/repress specific genes encoding enzymes and other proteins involved in the flow of carbon into seed oil has led to the development of transgenic lines with significant increases in seed oil content. Proteins encoded by these genes include enzymes catalyzing the production of building blocks for oil assembly, enzymes involved in oil assembly, enzymes regulating metabolic carbon partitioning between oil, carbohydrate and secondary metabolite fractions, and transcription factors which orchestrate metabolism at a more general level.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carbon / chemistry*
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Plant Oils / chemistry*
  • Seeds / chemistry*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Triglycerides / biosynthesis


  • DNA, Complementary
  • Plant Oils
  • Transcription Factors
  • Triglycerides
  • Carbon