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UniQuest targets virus resistance company

The Australian University of Queensland’s commercial arm, UniQuest (St Lucia, Queensland), is seeking to establish a start-up company to develop virus-resistant plants using the University’s Nexgen technology. It has attracted a grant from Commercialisation Australia of Aus$50,000 (US$52,223), which will be used to access specialist advice for raising the capital to establish the start-up company. Nexgen is based on a new class of virus micro RNA molecules (miRNA) involved in modulating a plant’s defence response to virus attack. University researchers have screened a range of crops such as maize, soybeans, wheat, rice, cotton, sugar cane and potatoes for resistance to several virus types using the Nexgen technology.

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