Enhancing yield and biomass in canola by modifying carbohydrate metabolism

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Purpose

These researchers found that when the endogenous leaf starch branching enzymes (SBEs) in Arabidopsis are replaced with maize endosperm homologues, the result was a 250 per cent increase in total seed oil produced per plant. Because canola (Brassica napus) is genetically close to Arabidopsis, this study will look into a transfer of the above technology to canola.

Progress

Six SBEs were identified in the canola cultivar DH12075 and a range of mutants in up to six canola starch branching enzyme genes have been obtained using the CRISPR-Cas9 system. The polyploidy genetic background added a complexity and prolonged the timeline for characterizing a completely null mutant. Overexpression of maize endosperm homolog of SBE I in a quadruple-mutant canola background has generated some lines showing promising traits. A small-scale field trial is under way. Further evaluation of the impact on yield is in progress.