Camelina as a sustainable oilseed crop: Contributions of plant breeding and genetic engineering – J. Vollmann, C. Eynck – Biotechnology Journal February 2015

Summary: Camelina is an underutilized Brassicaceae oilseed plant with a considerable agronomic potential for biofuel and vegetable oil production in temperate regions. In contrast to most Brassicaceae, camelina is resistant to alternaria black spot and other diseases and pests. Sequencing of the camelina genome revealed an undifferentiated allohexaploid genome with a comparatively large number of genes and low percentage of repetitive DNA. As there is a close relationship between camelina and the genetic model plant Arabidopsis, this review aims at exploring the potential of translating basic Arabidopsis results into a camelina oilseed crop for food and non-food applications. Recently, Arabidopsis genes for drought resistance or increased photosynthesis and overall productivity have successfully been expressed in camelina. In addition, gene constructs affecting lipid metabolism pathways have been engineered into camelina for synthesizing either long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, hydroxy fatty acids or high-oleic oils in particular camelina strains, which is of great interest in human food, industrial or biofuel applications, respectively. These results confirm the potential of camelina to serve as a biotechnology platform in biorefinery applications thus justifying further investment in breeding and genetic research for combining agronomic potential, unique oil quality features and biosafety into an agricultural production system.