Genomic editing with CRISPR/Cas9 system can simultaneously modify multiple copies of theBnaFAD2 gene to develop novel variations in fatty acids profiles in polyploidy rapeseed.


Fatty acid composition affects edible and processing quality of vegetable oil and has been one of the primary targets for genetic modification in oilseed crops including rapeseed (Brassica napus). Fatty acid desaturase 2 gene, FAD2, is a key player that affects three major fatty acids, namely oleic, linoleic and linolenic acid, in oilseed plants. Previously, we showed that there are four copies of BnaFAD2 in allotetraploid rapeseed. In this study, we further established spatiotemporal expression pattern of each copy of BnaFAD2 using published RNA-seq data. Genomic editing technology based on CRISPR/Cas9 system was used to mutate all the copies of BnaFAD2 to create novel allelic variations in oleic acid and other fatty acid levels. A number of mutants at two targeting sites were identified, and the phenotypic variation in the mutants was systematically evaluated. The oleic acid content in the seed of the mutants increased significantly with the highest exceeding 80% compared with wild type of 66.43%, while linoleic and linolenic acid contents decreased accordingly. Mutations on BnaFAD2.A5 caused more dramatic changes of fatty acid profile than the mutations on BnaFAD2.C5 alleles that were identified with gene editing technique for the first time. Moreover, combining different mutated alleles of BnaFAD2 can even broaden the variation more dramatically. It was found that effects of different mutation types at BnaFAD2 alleles on oleic levels varied, indicating a possibility to manipulate fatty acid levels by precise mutation at specific region of a gene.