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Transgenic mice: fat-1 mice convert n-6 to n-3 fatty acids.

Mammals cannot naturally produce omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids--beneficial nutrients found mainly in fish oil--from the more abundant omega-6 (n-6) fatty acids and so they must rely on a dietary supply. Here we show that mice engineered to carry a fat-1 gene from the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans can add a double bond into an unsaturated fatty-acid hydrocarbon chain and convert n-6 to n-3 fatty acids. This results in an abundance of n-3 and a reduction in n-6 fatty acids in the organs and tissues of these mice, in the absence of dietary n-3. As well as presenting an opportunity to investigate the roles played by n-3 fatty acids in the body, our discovery indicates that this technology might be adapted to enrich n-3 fatty acids in animal products such as meat, milk and eggs.

Pubmed ID: 14765186


  • Kang JX
  • Wang J
  • Wu L
  • Kang ZB



Publication Data

February 5, 2004

Associated Grants


Mesh Terms

  • Animals
  • Body Composition
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Dietary Fats
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Fatty Acid Desaturases
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6
  • Food
  • Food Industry
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic