Dow AgroSciences’ Novel Gene Insertion Works

A biotech breakthrough by scientists at Dow AgroSciences LLC could transform agricultural advancement.

Researchers for Dow AgroSciences, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Co., have demonstrated insertion of a gene for a herbicide-tolerant trait to a specific, pre-determined location in the maize genome confirming that precise modification is practical and feasible, according to new research published in the advanced online edition of the journal Nature.

The new development, EXZACT Precision Technology, is based on utilizing proprietary Zinc-Finger Nucleases (ZFNs) for trait engineering. It establishes a new industry standard to enhance global crop production through precise genetic modification in plant species. According to Dow AgroSciences, it is the only technology capable of specifically targeting any DNA sequence, thereby providing flexibility and versatility in genetic research and enabling developers to add, delete, or edit genes in plants. EXZACT Precision Technology enhances the efficient discovery and development of novel traits and solutions for crop production.

“Conventional agricultural biotechnology has been a laborious, time-consuming, and unpredictable undertaking,” says Vipula Shukla, project leader for EXACT at Dow AgroSciences. “However, results of the EXZACT Precision Technology show that ZFNs can be utilized in any plant species amenable to DNA delivery, including commodity crops, vegetables, ornamentals, trees, and biomass crops. This establishes a new, rapid, and efficient strategy for precise plant genetic modification in basic science and agricultural applications. Additionally, it provides a new and efficient path to market, reducing the cost and complexity of product development.”

Dow AgroSciences is making EXZACT Precision Technology available and accessible to all segments of the industry through collaboration.

A research and commercial license agreement between Dow AgroSciences and Richmond, CA-based Sangamo BioSciences Inc. was initiated in October 2005. The agreement provided Dow AgroSciences with access to Sangamo’s proprietary zinc finger DNA-binding protein (ZFP) technology for the development of products in plants and plant cell cultures. Sangamo BioSciences and Dow AgroSciences worked together on the successful research program targeted on plants, and Dow AgroSciences exercised the commercial license in June 2008.

Visit www.exzactprecisiontechnology.com for more information.

(Source: Dow AgroSciences)

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