|June 29, 2000--Agritope, Inc. (Nasdaq:AGTO - news) today announced the issuance of a new US patent for its biotechnology program. |
The patent, number 6,054,635, covers a novel plant gene promoter derived from raspberry fruit. This promoter is a specific sequence of DNA that directs the expression of any gene linked to the promoter.
``Promoters are fundamental components of all biotechnology platforms because an effective promoter is necessary to activate genes in a precise manner,'' said Adolph J. Ferro, president and chief executive officer. ``Agritope has a very active promoter discovery program that is critical for our company's ability to achieve improved traits in plant products and that allows us to conduct our research without incurring costs of licensing promoters owned by others.''
The newly patented promoter, named RE4, can control gene activity in many or all tissues in a given plant. In studies to date, Agritope scientists have determined that RE4 directs gene expression in a number of plants in addition to raspberry. This broad spectrum of plant species includes apple, arabidopsis, garlic, lettuce, melon, onion, pear, tobacco and tomato. RE4 can also be used to control the activity of marker genes, which are important research tools used to confirm the presence of a new gene or trait in a plant. The utility of the RE4 promoter for molecular plant breeding is greatly enhanced by the fact that it is a naturally occurring plant DNA sequence. Thus, it can replace commonly used promoters of non-plant origin when creating improved plant varieties.
Agritope's patent portfolio now consists of 17 issued US Patents, 12 issued foreign patents as well as applications for an additional 57 patents pending. In addition, its 50% owned joint venture Agrinomics LLC has five patent applications pending.