make healthy avocado - Your Published Bio Team Output
**Pre-Project**To achieve the goal of making a healthy avocado, it would be most appropriate to add/adjust metabolic pathways. Specifically, the focus would be on increasing the production of antioxidants, healthy fatty acids, and vitamins.
For this objective, the species selected could be the Hass avocado (Persea americana var. Hass), which is the most commonly grown variety of avocado worldwide. Hass avocados are known for their rich, creamy texture and high concentration of nutrients, including vitamins C, E, and K, as well as healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
To modify Hass avocados to increase their nutritional value, the suggested modifications would be to insert genes that encode for enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of antioxidants, such as vitamin C and E, and healthy fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6.
For example, one could add an omega-3 fatty acid biosynthesis pathway by introducing genes from another species such as a type of algae that produces docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These are omega-3 fatty acids that have been shown to have positive effects on brain function and heart health.
Another modification would be to enhance the production of vitamin E, which is known for its antioxidant properties. This could be achieved by inserting genes that code for enzymes involved in vitamin E biosynthesis, increasing avocados' nutritional value and their shelf life.
Overall, by adding these metabolic pathways, we can create a genetically modified Hass avocado that is richer in antioxidants, fatty acids, and vitamins, with increased nutritional value and disease-fighting properties. It is important to note, however, that any modifications made to food must undergo rigorous safety testing to ensure their safety for consumption before they become available in the market.
**Genes:** Genes to Add:
1. Fatty acid desaturase genes such as delta-6 and delta-15 that convert linoleic acid to omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
2. Acyl-CoA Delta-9 Desaturase gene that converts monounsaturated fatty acids into polyunsaturated fatty acids.
3. Gamma-tocopherol methyltransferase gene involved in the biosynthesis of Vitamin E.
4. Ascorbic acid oxidase (AAO) gene for the production of Vitamin C.
5. Genes from Chlorella algae for EPA and DHA production.
1. AcrIIA4 targeting delta-6 and delta-15 desaturase.
2. PacMan targeting Acyl-CoA Delta-9 Desaturase.
3. SpCas9 or SaCas9 targeting γ-TMT.
4. LbCpf1 targeting AAO gene.
5. S. pyogenes Cas9 targeting the delta-6 and delta-15 desaturase genes from Chlorella algae.
Genes to Tweak Expression:
1. ATP-citrate lyase (ACLY) gene for the regulation of fatty acid synthesis, which can reduce the accumulation of unhealthy fats.
2. ACCase gene for regulating the biosynthesis of fatty acids.
3. Oleosin gene for controlling the accumulation of oil in the fruit.
4. Squalene synthase gene involved in converting squalene to phytosterols.
5. Catalase gene, to reduce oxidative stress in the fruit and increase shelf life.
6. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) gene, which scavenges free radicals and reduces oxidative stress.
1. Aconitase gene, which is involved in the citric acid cycle, and can be targeted to reduce energy consumption.
2. HMG-CoA reductase gene, to reduce the biosynthesis of cholesterol.
3. ACCase gene, as mentioned above, to regulate the biosynthesis of fatty acids.
4. Fat storage-inducing transmembrane protein (FIT) gene, which is involved in the synthesis and accumulation of triacylglycerol.
5. Oleosin gene, as mentioned above, to regulate oil accumulation.
6. Lipoxygenase gene, which can be targeted to avoid the oxidation of unsaturated fatty acids.
1. Avocado Fat-Associated Promoter (AFAP): This promoter sequence can be used to enhance the expression of fatty acid desaturase genes and acyl-CoA Delta-9 desaturase gene. This promoter is induced by the transcription factor NF-YA and activates the expression of genes involved in fatty acid biosynthesis.
2. Vitamin E Promoter-1 (VEP1): This promoter sequence can be used to enhance the expression of Gamma-tocopherol methyltransferase gene. This promoter is activated by light and regulates the expression of genes involved in the biosynthesis of Vitamin E.
3. Ubiquitin promoter: This promoter sequence can be used to drive constitutive expression of genes involved in EPA and DHA production.
Ideal Enhancer Sequences:
1. Oleosin enhancer: This enhancer sequence can be used to control the accumulation of oil in the fruit. It is activated by sugar and regulates the expression of oleosin gene.
2. Antioxidant Response Element (ARE): This enhancer sequence can be used to regulate the expression of catalase and SOD genes. It is activated by oxidative stress and helps in the scavenging of free radicals.
3. Fatty Acid Responsive Element (FARE): This enhancer sequence can be used to regulate the expression of ACLY and ACCase genes. It responds to the levels of fatty acids and regulates their biosynthesis.
Ideal Terminator Sequences:
1. PinII terminator: This terminator sequence can be used to stop the expression of the AAO gene after it has produced enough Vitamin C.
2. NOS terminator: This terminator sequence can be used to halt the expression of genes involved in fatty acid synthesis and cholesterol biosynthesis.
3. T35S terminator: This terminator sequence can be used to stop the expression of genes involved in EPA and DHA production once enough of these fatty acids have been produced.
Using AFAP and VEP1 promoters will increase the expression of genes involved in the biosynthesis of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and Vitamin E, resulting in a healthier avocado. The use of Oleosin enhancer will help in controlling the accumulation of oil in the fruit, making the fruit even healthier. The use of ARE and FARE enhancers will regulate the expression of antioxidant genes and genes involved in fatty acid synthesis, preventing oxidative stress and reducing the accumulation of unhealthy fats.
The use of PinII, NOS, and T35S terminators will ensure that the genes involved in fatty acid synthesis and cholesterol biosynthesis are stopped after they have produced the desired effect. This will prevent the accumulation of unhealthy fats and ensure that the avocado remains healthy.
**Vector & Delivery:** For the delivery of the genes into the avocado plant, I would choose the Agrobacterium tumefaciens vector. Agrobacterium-mediated transformation is a widely used method for plant genetic modification, and A. tumefaciens is known to infect many plant species, including avocado. The vector would carry the desired genes, and the regulatory elements mentioned above, as well as the Crispr and RNAi targets. The A. tumefaciens vector works by transferring T-DNA (transfer DNA) into the plant genome upon infection. The T-DNA would be the genetic material that carries the desired genes mentioned above.
After the vector is delivered into the avocado plant via A. tumefaciens infection, the genes can be expressed and help produce a healthier avocado. Since A. tumefaciens is known to infect avocado plants, this delivery method would optimize the desired genetic modifications in the plant. Moreover, using vector-mediated transformation, it is possible to integrate the desired genes into specific sites in the genome, which can result in stable and predictable gene expression. Therefore, using A. tumefaciens vector as the delivery method would be the most appropriate for efficient gene delivery and expression of the desired genes in the avocado plant, resulting in a healthier fruit.
**Selection Marker:** If a selection marker is deemed needed for this project we will use the hygromycin resistance gene (hph). This marker allows for efficient selection of successfully modified avocado plants, as it confers resistance to hygromycin, a commonly used antibiotic agent. The hph gene can easily be screened for using hygromycin-containing media, which will kill non-transformed cells and allow for the growth of transformed cells. The use of this selection marker will facilitate the identification of successfully modified avocado plants and ensure that the desired genetic modifications are present in the final product.
**Transformation Protocol:** Protocol for Transforming Avocado with Desired Genes and Regulatory Elements
- Avocado plantlets - A. tumefaciens vector containing the desired genes and regulatory elements - Agrobacterium culture grown in standard medium - Hygromycin-containing selection medium (if using hph selection marker) - Sterilized forceps and scissors - Sterilized petri dishes - Sterilized growth chamber - Sterile distilled water - Plant pots and soil
1. Culturing of Agrobacterium tumefaciens - In aseptic conditions, prepare a standard medium supporting the growth of the Agrobacterium tumefaciens culture. Incubate the culture for 48-72 hours at 28°C.
2. Infection of Avocado Explants with Agrobacterium - Select healthy looking avocado plantlets for the infection process. Cut the stems of the plantlets into 1-2 cm pieces, and place them in a sterile Petri dish containing the Agrobacterium culture. Allow the cultures to incubate together for 15 minutes.
3. Co-Culture of Avocado Pieces with Agrobacterium culture - Remove the avocado explants from the Agrobacterium culture, and blot off any excess liquid with sterile filter paper. Place the pieces onto sterile filter paper soaked in sterile distilled water. Transfer the petri dish to a plant growth chamber (set the temperature to 25°C, with a 16-hour light and 8-hour dark photoperiod) and leave it for 48 hours.
4. Selecting for Transformants - After co-culture, the plantlets can be transferred to plant regeneration medium that contains hygromycin, if hph selection marker is used. After 2-3 weeks, shoot regeneration should be observed from the infected stem pieces. Once the plants have developed new shoots, they can be transferred from the selection medium to soil in small pots and allowed to grow.
5. Confirmation of Success - The plants that have grown by this time should carry the desired genes and regulatory elements. This can be confirmed by observing any phenotypic changes in the fruit and leaves, as well as by conducting a PCR test to verify integration of the T-DNA into the plant genome.
6. Hardening - Once the plants have been confirmed to be transformed successfully, they can be hardened by gradually exposing them to non-aseptic conditions, reducing the relative humidity to 40-60%, and adjusting the temperature and light accordingly. After two weeks of hardening and monitoring, the plants can be considered healthy and ready to be transferred to the field for growth.
By following this protocol, scientists can successfully engineer avocado plants containing the desired genes and regulatory elements. This leads to a healthier avocado fruit, with added nutritional benefits that provide consumers with a more nutritious product.
**Gene cassette**: The 5' to 3' list of elements in the multi-purpose cassette suitable for cloning into Agrobacterium tumefaciens vector for the genetic modification of avocado plants includes:
1. Fatty acid desaturase genes such as delta-6 and delta-15 2. Acyl-CoA Delta-9 Desaturase gene 3. Gamma-tocopherol methyltransferase gene 4. Ascorbic acid oxidase (AAO) gene 5. Genes from Chlorella algae for EPA and DHA production 6. AcrIIA4 target for delta-6 and delta-15 desaturase gene 7. PacMan target for Acyl-CoA Delta-9 Desaturase gene 8. SpCas9 or SaCas9 target for γ-TMT gene 9. LbCpf1 target for AAO gene 10. S. pyogenes Cas9 target for the delta-6 and delta-15 desaturase genes from Chlorella algae 11. ATP-citrate lyase (ACLY) gene 12. ACCase gene 13. Oleosin gene 14. Squalene synthase gene 15. Catalase gene 16. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) gene 17. Aconitase gene targeting for RNAi 18. HMG-CoA reductase gene targeting for RNAi 19. Fat storage-inducing transmembrane protein (FIT) gene targeting for RNAi 20. Oleosin gene targeting for RNAi 21. Lipoxygenase gene targeting for RNAi 22. Avocado Fat-Associated Promoter (AFAP) ideal promoter sequence 23. Vitamin E Promoter-1 (VEP1) ideal promoter sequence 24. Ubiquitin promoter ideal promoter sequence 25. Oleosin enhancer ideal enhancer sequence 26. Antioxidant Response Element (ARE) ideal enhancer sequence 27. Fatty Acid Responsive Element (FARE) ideal enhancer sequence 28. PinII terminator ideal terminator sequence 29. NOS terminator ideal terminator sequence 30. T35S terminator ideal terminator sequence 31. Hygromycin resistance gene (hph) selection marker
The cassette can be synthesized by a supplier such as GenScript or Integrated DNA Technologies (IDT).
**Paper Abstract:** This project aims to produce a genetically modified avocado that is healthier, containing high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, Vitamin E, and lower levels of unhealthy fats. The project involves the addition of various genes such as fatty acid desaturase genes, gamma-tocopherol methyltransferase gene, and genes from Chlorella algae. The genes will be delivered into the avocado plant genome through Agrobacterium-mediated transformation, using the T-DNA vector, which carries the desired genes and regulatory elements. Regulatory elements such as promoters (AFAP and VEP1), enhancers (Oleosin, ARE, and FARE), and terminators (PinII, NOS, and T35S) will be used to induce gene expression and control the accumulation of oil in the fruit, prevent oxidative stress, and stop the expression of genes involved in fatty acid synthesis and cholesterol biosynthesis. The hygromycin resistance gene (hph) will be used as a selection marker to identify successfully modified avocado plants. This project has the potential to produce a healthier avocado that can meet the increasing demand for functional foods, which provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition.
**Growth, Selection & Stabilization:** Growth Protocol: Avocado plants are typically propagated from seeds, and the transformation of the plant would ideally occur at the embryonic stage. The seeds should be washed thoroughly and sterilized with 70% ethanol for 1-2 minutes, followed by immersing them in a 10-15% bleach solution for 15-20 minutes. After sterilization, the seeds should be washed with sterile water several times and placed on a sterile filter paper in a petri dish for 24-48 hours to allow germination.
Once the seedlings have germinated, they can be transferred to soil and grown under optimal conditions. Avocado plants prefer a well-draining soil with a pH of 6-6.5 and temperatures ranging from 60-85°F. They require 6-8 hours of sunlight per day, and the soil should be kept moist but not waterlogged. Fertilizers can be applied as needed to ensure proper growth.
Selection Protocol: After the transformation of the avocado plant, selection should begin by introducing the selection marker into the modified plant cells. Hygromycin resistance selection can be carried out by growing the transformed plant cells on media containing hygromycin. Cells that have successfully integrated the hph gene will be able to proliferate and form callus, while untransformed cells will die due to the selection marker. The transformed callus can then be regenerated into whole plants using plant tissue culture methods.
Stabilization Protocol: Once stable transformed plants have been obtained, it is important to ensure that the desired genetic modifications are maintained in successive generations of the plant. To achieve this, the modified plants should be allowed to cross-pollinate with other modified plants, which will help in stabilizing the genetic modifications in the plant population.
To maintain genetic stability, it may be necessary to continually monitor the plants for the expression of the desired genes and test the fruit for the presence of the desired fatty acids and vitamins. The cultivation and breeding of the modified avocado plants should be carried out under controlled conditions to minimize the risk of cross-contamination with non-modified plants.
In summary, the growth and selection protocol for this project involves the germination of avocado seeds, transformation of the plant using an A. tumefaciens vector, selection of transformed plant cells using hygromycin resistance, and regeneration of transformed callus into stable plants. To maintain genetic stability, the modified plants will be allowed to cross-pollinate with other modified plants, and the expression of the desired traits and genetic modifications will be continually monitored.
**Proliferation Method:** Once the final transformants have been stabilized, the method of proliferating them can be achieved by a few steps. Firstly, the plants should be grown in tissue culture conditions to encourage in vitro growth. Secondly, rooted plantlets can be transferred to soil and grown in a controlled environment to ensure optimal growth conditions. Thirdly, the transformed plants can be propagated by vegetative propagation methods such as stem cuttings or grafting. This method will ensure efficient proliferation of the desired genetic modifications in the resulting population, as vegetative propagation produces clones of the original plant. This means that the offspring will have the exact same genetic modifications as the parent plant, ensuring consistency in the desired quality and characteristics of the fruit. Additionally, vegetative propagation can also be used to maintain the specific cultivar or variety of the avocado, giving growers an assurance that their crops will yield the same desirable characteristics every year.
**Conclusion:** In conclusion, the project outlines a protocol for genetically modifying avocado plants to produce fruit with added nutritional benefits. The protocol involves the use of Agrobacterium-mediated transformation to introduce desired genes and regulatory elements into the avocado plant genome. The protocol also includes steps for growth, selection, and stabilization of the transformed plants, as well as methods for proliferating them. The protocol's gene construct includes a list of desirable target genes, promoters, enhancers, terminators, and selection markers.
The significance of this project lies in the potential for producing a healthier avocado fruit that meets the increasing demand for functional foods with added nutritional benefits beyond basic nutrition. Such an innovation could significantly impact the agricultural industry and the health of the general public.
The success of this project will depend on the efficient transformation and stabilization of avocado plants, as well as the accurate expression, accumulation and stability of the desired traits. Further research is needed to determine the long-term effects of consuming genetically modified avocado or introducing them to the environment. Nonetheless, this protocol provides a useful and promising approach for genetic engineering of avocado plants with targeted nutritional qualities.