Apr 132012

There’s no equivalent to our technology anywhere in the world

A small startup on a moshav has come up with a way to immunize plants to make them genetically resistant to disease. The U.S. government has found the technology so promising that it’s helping to fund pre-field trial tests. A homegrown Israeli idea for conquering the world food shortage.

It took a full hour and a half for Morflora’s Dotan Peleg and Miri Lapidot, who were giving lengthy explanations about genetic sequences, proteins and chromosomes, to manage to convey just why they believe their company is on course to change the face of global agriculture – and earn untold profits.

“In this day and age, when you get a flu shot, it is thanks to the field of immunology that was developed 100 years ago,” explains Peleg, Morflora’s CEO. Immunization, he says, “is founded on the idea of using a weakened or dead virus. There is a distant parallel to this in the plant world, but the vulnerability of plants to pests is much greater. To make them resistant to disease, their DNA has to be modified, either by way of the classical breeding tools of cultivation or by genetic engineering. We are apparently the first company in history to succeed in applying the immunization revolution in plants. There’s no equivalent to our technology anywhere in the world.”

Morflora has developed a universal tool that is said to be effective in the manipulation of every plant or species, in the case of every gene. To introduce it to the market, the company still needs to successfully complete testing of the new technology, pass the regulatory hurdles set by a variety of different governments, address people’s concerns about consuming genetically altered food products – and above all, should all the other conditions be met, to succeed in what is now shaping up to be the Achilles’ heel of the company: developing an implementable business model that will maximize financial benefit from these discoveries.

Read more . . .

via Haaretz – Hagai Amit

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