Can a Plant Be Patented?

Can a plant be patented?  The answer is “yes.”  On this date in history – August 18, 1931 – The U.S. Patent Office awarded the first patent for an “invented” plant.  It was given to gardener Henry Bosenberg for his “New Dawn,” an ever-blooming champagne-colored rose.

Today, plant engineering is an important area of research.  Plant-based pharmaceuticals (PMPs) have several advantages over traditional animal cell-cultured systems.  They are significantly cheaper to produce.  And they have no risk of being contaminated by animal-borne pathogens.

Agilent technologies are used in the research of PMPs.

Omega-3 fatty acids (ω3) offer tremendous health benefits against cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases.  These fatty acids come primarily from fish oils, but there is a need for a more sustainable source.  Scientists in Australia used an Agilent GC, autosampler and ChemStation software to engineer plant-based ω3.  They succeeded in producing significant amounts from oilseed crops.  One hectare of an engineered Bassica napus crop could produce as much ω3 as 10,000 fish.

Several plant species possess properties that can control diabetes.  One Southern India plant (Costus pictus D. Don) is known as the “Insulin Plant” because its leaves reportedly increase insulin pools in blood plasma.  Scientists in India sequenced the DNA of C. pictus leaves, to identify the plant’s anti-diabetic properties at a genetic level.

The researchers used several Agilent technologies, including an Agilent Bioanalyzer system, Plant RNA isolation mini kit, Affintyscript Reverse Transcriptase, Stratagene Real-time PCR and GeneSpring software.

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