Can You Make Oleic Acid-rich Soybeans?

🍴Oleic acid is a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid found in various animal and vegetable fats and oils. It is particularly abundant in olive oil. Oleic acid is expected to have a variety of health benefits, including lowering cholesterol levels. For example, FDA completed the review of a qualified health claim that consuming oleic acid in edible oils may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Moreover, oleic acid is less likely to be oxidized than other unsaturated fatty acids, which makes more stable food.

🥢Soybeans contain lower amounts of oleic acid (20%) and higher amounts of linoleic acid (55%) because oleic acid is metabolized to linoleic acid by enzymes, FAD (Fatty acid desaturase). Calyxt, Inc, USA succeeded in developing soybean oil rich in oleic acid (80%) by knocking out this enzyme through genome editing. In this soybean, the amount of linoleic acid was very low (5%).  In 2018, the world’s first genome-edited food, this soybean, went on sale.

The genome editing for this product used a technology called TALEN (Transcription activator-like effector nucleases). CRISPR-Cas9 may be more famous as a genome editing technology because it won the Nobel Prize. According to the Calyxt comparison, both TALEN and CRISPR are considered efficient methods; TALEN is superior to CRISPR with respect to target specificity and inferior with respect to capacity for multiplexing.


1. Calyxt, Inc.

2. The Nisshin OilliO Group, Ltd.

3. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

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