Avesthagen gets US patents for eco-friendly gene marker technology, sunflower synthesis

Avesthagen Limited has received US patents for eco-friendly safe selection method that can replace the traditional antibiotic marker technology in GM crops and a breakthrough sunflower transformation technology.

In the past, antibiotic resistance marker genes have been used in developing GM crops, which have raised worldwide opposition to the GM technology in general.

Avesthagen's Xylose Isomerase (XI) technology does not use antibiotics in the selection process thus successfully addressing public concerns. This positive selection process is based on the function imparted by the patented technology to metabolise certain carbohydrate compounds during the selection process.

The transformation efficiency of the patented method is approximately two to three times that of the antibiotic based methods, thereby increasing the chances of success of identifying transformed cells.

The present patent has been granted towards improvement in the method of generating engineered plantlets with novel genes and can be extended to trait stacking with multiple genes, which requires several markers in the selection process. 

The patent was also granted for sunflower transformation.  This is the first such patent granted for a recalcitrant species.