Genome of wild olive and the evolution of oil biosynthesis

Olive oil is a staple of the healthy “Mediterranean diet” and contains high levels of the monounsaturated fat oleic acid. Unver, Wu et al. present the genome of the wild olive tree (Olea europaea var. sylvestris) (draft sequences of domesticated olive trees without extensive functional annotation were reported previously).  This new work also looks at gene expression levels and investigates oil biosynthetic pathway genes. The authors find that changes in expression of genes encoding key enzymes in fatty acid synthesis (SACPD and FAD2) likely underlie oleic acid abundance in olive oil. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 10.1073/pnas.1708621114

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