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Nueva herramienta de agricultura molecular: nuevo sistema de metilación de ADN o herramienta de cultivo epigenético para la generación de plantas no transgénicas con fenotipo modificado


Oferta Tecnológica
Un centro de investigación alemán ofrece un nuevo sistema de metilación de ADN que permite la generación dirigida de plantas económicas con fenotipo modificado mediante silenciamiento de genes, sin que la planta producida contenga ADN extraño. Este sistema abre excelentes oportunidades para nuevas técnicas de cultivo de plantas y desarrollo de cultivos de alto valor para los sectores sanitario, químico y agrícola. Se buscan socios industriales o académicos con el fin de establecer acuerdos de licencia, cooperación técnica o investigación.


New tool for molecular farming: Novel DNA methylation system or epigenetic breeding tool for the generation of transgene-free plants with modified phenotype
A German research organization offers a novel DNA methylation system. It allows targeted generation of economic plants with a phenotype modified by gene silencing, while no foreign DNA is contained in the produced plant. Excellent opportunities are opened for new plant breeding techniques (NPBT) and the development of high value crops for health, chemical and agricultural sectors. Licensing, technical cooperation and research partnership agreements are offered to industrial or academic partners.
The mission of the German research organization is to do research and development in the field of plant biotechnology. It understands itself as a link between basic research and industrial application. It is running six technology platforms (molecular breeding, virology, tissue culture, genomics, proteomics, epigenetics) which are contributing to the research priorities "fruit diseases, phytoplasmas", "grapevine biotechnology" and "RNA-mediated gene regulation. Its research activities base upon high-profile national and international R-Y-D collaborations with both industry and academia.

Molecular farming involves the production of pharmaceutical and industrial compounds in plants through advanced technologies and it offers a competitive platform for the manufacturing of high-end products, e.g. plant derived vaccines, commercially valuable proteins and small molecules. In addition, the scalability allowed by plants exceeds that of other production systems. However, expansion of molecular farming is strongly restricted by European legislation, as standard transgenic genetic modification technologies transfer foreign DNA in the target genome.

The novel DNA methylation system allows the targeted generation of economic plants with a modified phenotype by gene silencing, whereas the transgene does not remain in the progeny of the formerly transformed plant. Furthermore, the requested phenotypic characteristics are being transferred to the plant´s descendant over several generations. This is achieved by so called RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) which allows modifying the methylation pattern of genomic sequence specifically.

The innovation of this technology is based on the insertion of a transgene consisting of an "inverted repeat" (IR) construct within an intronic sequence, whereas the IR construct comprises sequences of the target gene. While transcription of the RdDM construct, double stranded RNA (dsRNA) is being formed, which remains - different from conventional RNAi methods - in the nucleus, where it leads to de novo methylation of the target gene´s promoter. This results in a specific transcriptional inactivation of the promoter sequence and therewith in silencing of the target gene.

By epigenetic heredity, the RdDM-driven methylation pattern is transferred to the plant´s next generation. As a result, the target gene remains inactivated, while the transgene is removed by outbreeding. All in all, the RdDM method enables the generation of transgene-free plants which have a modified gene expression pattern.

The research organisation is interested in exploiting its know-how technically and econommically and further developing the described technology. Various kinds of international cooperation are possible.

Partners are welcome, who are active in the development of new pharmaceutics and compounds, such as proteins, vaccines or small molecules and other industrial bioproducts. Out-licensing of the technology is possible.

Plant breeders looking for new plant breeding technologies may be interested in applying the proposed technology, e.g. within a technical cooperation or joined further development.

The research organisation is also very interested in finding partners preparing a project proposal in response to relevant forthcoming HORIZON 2020 calls. (e.g. Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies / Biotechnology).

The above mentioned kinds of cooperation are examples. The research organisation is open to discuss further opportunies.
Advantages and Innovations:
Contrary to e.g. classic mutagenese methods, this epigenetic methylation system allows targeted modification of economic plants´ characteristics and avoids undesired genome changes.

Efficiency of methylation is considerably higher compared to conventional technologies.

No vertical or horizontal gene transfer as in common molecular engineering technologies. Therefore it is less restricted by European legislation, while the requested phenotypic characteristics are being transferred to the plant´s descendants with high stability.
Stage of Development:
Available for demonstration
Patents granted
CommeR Statunts Regarding IPR Status:
PCT granted

Partner sought

Type and Role of Partner Sought:
Ideal industrial or academic partners should be:

- active in the development of new pharmaceutics and compounds, such as proteins, vaccines or small molecules

- aiming to exploit minor, underutilized and non-food crops suitable for the extraction of bioactive compounds

- aiming to improve crops to grow more efficiently and have higher yields of the target bio-product, while being more tolerant to adverse environmental conditions

- The partner should be interested in applying the proposed technology and/ or jointly adapt it to further pupose


Type and Size of Client:
R&D Institution
Already Engaged in Trans-National Cooperation:
Languages Spoken:


Technology Keywords:
06003001 Bioinformática
06002009 Diseño molecular
06003002 Expresión genética, investigación proteómica
07001004 Gestión de cosechas
06002005 Ingeniería genética