Part 2. Transgenic Oilseed Crops
Published Online: 15 APR 2009
Copyright © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.
Compendium of Transgenic Crop Plants
How to Cite
Green, A. G., Singh, S. P., Chen, Y. and Dribnenki, J. P. 2009. Flax. Compendium of Transgenic Crop Plants. 2:199–226.
- Published Online: 15 APR 2009
Flax (Linum usitatissimum) is an ancient crop grown for either its linen fiber (fiber flax) or its highly polyunsaturated seed oil (linseed). In recent times, the whole seed and the extracted oils have also become highly valued nutritional supplements due to their rich content of lignans and ω-3 fatty acids. Compared to other more major crops, flax is relatively little studied from the genetic, cytogenetic, and molecular genetic perspectives. Nonetheless, significant achievements in improving yield, agronomics, and disease resistance were made during the 1900s using conventional plant breeding and selection techniques. The natural gene pool for flax is limited to L. usitatissimum and its respective annual and biennial progenitors, L. angustifolium and L. bienne, which significantly limits the opportunity for further genetic improvement. Consequently, mutation breeding techniques were successfully applied in the 1980s to alter the fatty acid composition of the seed and develop a new low-linolenic form (Linola) that has been used as an alternative to sunflower and safflower oils in polyunsaturated margarine manufacture. More recently, flax has proven to be highly amenable to genetic transformation using Agrobacterium-mediated approaches. This capability is likely to provide most of the future achievements in flax improvement in the areas of yield, abiotic stress tolerance, disease resistance, herbicide tolerance, insect tolerance, and diversification of product quality.
- oilseed flax;
- fiber flax;
- Linum usitatissimum;