Control analysis is a powerful method to quantify the regulation of metabolic pathways. We have applied it to lipid biosynthesis for the first time by using model tissue culture systems from the important oil crops, olive (Olea europaea L.) and oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.). By the use of top-down control analysis, fatty acid biosynthesis has been shown to exert more control than lipid assembly under different experimental conditions. However, both parts of the lipid biosynthetic pathway are important, so that attempts to alter oil yield by manipulating the activity of a single enzyme step are very unlikely to produce significant increases.

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