Dow AgroSciences LLC and Sangamo BioSciences, Inc. announced the successful completion of a key research milestone as part of their joint Research and Commercial License Agreement. This milestone represents the successful application of Sangamo's zinc finger DNA-binding protein nuclease (ZFN™) technology in precision genome editing of a native plant gene with the aim of improving a valuable trait in canola, a crop central to Dow AgroSciences' business.
"It is my pleasure to announce we have achieved another significant milestone in the validation of zinc finger protein capabilities in plants," stated Jerome Peribere, the president and CEO of Dow AgroSciences, during his presentation at the Goldman Sachs Twelfth Annual Agricultural Biotech Forum.
Peribere continued, "We have demonstrated the robust utility and flexibility of the Sangamo technology in precision editing of a native plant gene, confirming the power of zinc finger proteins to accomplish specific and targeted modifications of the plant's own genetic sequence. The technology shows potential to enable the delivery of 'designer' crops into new and existing markets."
The milestone is the first demonstration of the precise modification of the DNA sequence of an existing gene in canola designed to generate an improved trait. This further demonstrates the ability of ZFNs to act at their intended target in crops of commercial importance.
The three-year agreement initiated October 2005 provides Dow AgroSciences with access to Sangamo's proprietary ZFP technology for the development of products in plants and plant cell cultures. During the initial three-year research term, Dow AgroSciences has the option to obtain a commercial license to sell products incorporating or derived from plant cells generated using Sangamo's ZFP technology, including agricultural crops, industrial products and plant-derived biopharmaceuticals.
Sangamo has also developed sequence-specific ZFNs for precision gene modification and targeted gene insertion. These technologies have the potential to play a major role in bringing new discoveries in genomics forward to the marketplace. The use of Sangamo's ZFP technology to enable the efficient and reproducible generation of combinations or stacks of multiple traits and the insertion of new traits could address increasing demand.