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Compositions and methods for reducing the level of nomicotine and N'-nitrosonornicotine (NNN) in Nicotiana plants and plant parts thereof are provided. The compositions comprise isolated polynucleotides and polypeptides for cytochrome P450s that are involved in the metabolic conversion of nicotine to nornicotine in these plants. Expression cassettes, vectors, plants, and plant parts thereof comprising inhibitory sequences that target expression or function of the disclosed cytochrome P450 polypeptides are also provided. Methods for the use of these novel sequences to inhibit expression or function of cytochrome P450 polypeptides involved in this metabolic conversion are also provided. The methods find use in the production of tobacco products that have reduced levels of nornicotine and its carcinogenic metabolite, NNN, and thus reduced carcinogenic potential for individuals consuming these tobacco products or exposed to secondary smoke derived from these products.


North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC (US); University of Kentucky Research Foundation, Lexington, KY (US)

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