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Alpha and omega: Making fish oils in GM plants

Alpha and omega: Making fish oils in GM plants. University of Stirling

The team

From Rothamsted Research and the Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling:

  • Professor Johnathan Napier
  • Dr Olga Sayanova
  • Dr Frederic Beaudoin
  • Dr Louise Michaelson
  • Dr Richard Haslam
  • Dr Sarah Usher
  • Dr Mary Hamilton
  • Ms Royah Vaezi
  • Ms Laura Seamons
  • Professor Douglas Tocher
  • Dr Monica Betancor
  • Dr Matthew Sprague
  • Dr Greta Carmona-Antoñanzas
  • Professor Gordon Bell
  • Mr James Dick

The science behind the exhibit

Fish oils are rich in omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs), which can help reduce our risk of heart attacks. Unfortunately, global fish stocks are not sufficient for everyone on the planet. We are making a new land-based source of fish oils in GM plants. With this exhibit the public will:

  • be informed about the current sources of omega-3 LC-PUFAs and the challenges that this poses for nutritious, healthy, sustainable food production including aquaculture
  • explore and discuss plant biotechnology as a tool for alternative sustainable terrestrial sources of omega-3 LC-PUFAs
  • learn about the principles of genetics and GM plants

About the exhibit

  • Algae – source of omega-3 and for genes to use for genetic modification – instrument with computer to visualise algae
  • Interactive game – the principles of metabolic and engineering
  • Seeds GM/non-GM
  • Video demonstrating laboratory procedures
  • Fish oils/several vegetable oils-rape, linseed – differences of oils rich in omega 6, omega 3 or LC-omega 3. Fish feed pellets of different sizes
  • Camelina plants


These images are protected by copyright law and may be used with acknowledgement.

Alpha and omega: Making fish oils in GM plants'

Copyright: Rothamsted Research Close-up of a Camelina flower 

Copyright: Rothamsted Research