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PBL awarded third RNAi patent

UK plant biotechnology company, Plant Biosciences (PBL– Norwich, Norfolk), has been granted a patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office for methods of inducing post transcriptional gene silencing in plants and animals using RNA interference. The patent (US 8,097,710) describes methods and compositions for use of short RNA sequences for inducing silencing in living organisms. It joins two other related patents (US 6,753,139 and US 7,704,688 ) based on the work of professor Sir David Baulcombe and Dr Andrew Hamilton. The ‘139 patent, issued in 2004, covers methods of detecting gene silencing in plants. The ‘688 patent, issued in 2010, includes claims directed to detection of gene silencing in mammals. The new patent acknowledges the role of short RNA molecules as the common mediators of gene silencing in different species and organisms, and protects the use of short RNAs for the purpose of inducing the silencing of a target gene in a cell, PBL points out. The company is “looking forward” to licencing inquiries in connection with the issuance of this patent, notes PBL’s managing director, Dr Jan Chojecki.

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