CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knockout of GmFATB1 significantly reduced the amount of saturated fatty acids in soybean seeds
journal contributionposted on 03.05.2021, 06:57 by J Ma, S Sun, James WhelanJames Whelan, H Shou
Soybean (Glycine max) oil is one of the most widely used vegetable oils across the world. Breeding of soybean to reduce the saturated fatty acid (FA) content, which is linked to cardiovascular disease, would be of great significance for nutritional improvement. Acyl-acyl carrier protein thioesterases (FATs) can release free FAs and acyl-ACP, which ultimately affects the FA profile. In this study, we identified a pair of soybean FATB coding genes, GmFATB1a and GmFATB1b. Mutants that knock out either or both of the GmFATB1 genes were obtained via CRISPR/Cas9. Single mutants, fatb1a and fatb1b, showed a decrease in leaf palmitic and stearic acid contents, ranging from 11% to 21%. The double mutant, fatb1a:1b, had a 42% and 35% decrease in palmitic and stearic acid content, displayed growth defects, and were male sterility. Analysis of the seed oil profile revealed that fatb1a and fatb1b had significant lower palmitic and stearic acid contents, 39–53% and 17–37%, respectively, while that of the unsaturated FAs were the same. The relative content of the beneficial FA, linoleic acid, was increased by 1.3–3.6%. The oil profile changes in these mutants were confirmed for four generations. Overall, our data illustrate that GmFATB1 knockout mutants have great potential in improving the soybean oil quality for human health.