Florida Genetics Announces New Patent

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Florida Genetics, LLC, announces the issuance of a US patent on its Bi-directional dual promoter complex, a powerful new genetic engineering technique for controlling gene expression in plants, animals and many microbes. This method, which facilitates genetic engineering by simultaneously coordinating the expression of multiple genes in a single, easily manipulated genetic unit, represents a significant improvement over existing techniques and is the most efficient method known for up- or down-regulating expression of targeted genes.

Bi-directional dual promoter complex with enhanced promoter activity for transgene expression in eukaryotes

Florida Genetics, LLC, is pleased to announce the issuance of US Patent No. 7,129,343 "Bi-directional dual promoter complex with enhanced promoter activity for transgene expression in eukaryotes", a new genetic engineering technique for controlling gene expression in plants, animals and many microbes. This patent describes the newly invented Bidirectional Dual Promoter Complex (BDPC), which facilitates genetic engineering by simultaneously coordinating the expression of multiple genes in a single, easily manipulated, genetic unit. The BDPC provides dramatic improvement over mono-directional promoter systems that have been used in all previous eukaryotic genetic engineering systems and is the most efficient method known for up- or down-regulating expression of virtually any targeted gene or genes. Genes of interest can be readily arranged in the BDPC, which is then inserted into a target organism's chromosomes using standard biotechnological methods. In this way new traits, such as disease resistance or protein production, can be readily created.

This unique BDPC is formed by the use of enhancer repeats in combination with divergently positioned core promoters, all derived from a single source/homologous promoter, to achieve enhanced transcription activity. Physical duplication of the same enhancer entity, as is present in the BDPC, has yet to be identified in nature. Similarly, the divergent orientation of homologous promoters does not occur in Eukaryotes. The utility and novelty of the BDPC is demonstrated by the enhanced expression of multiple genes afforded by the placement of duplicated enhancer elements between divergently arranged homologous core promoter elements. Further description of the BDPC, its applications, as well as other FGL technologies can be found at http://www.flgenetics.net and http://www.flgenetics.net/molecular.asp .

Although initially developed for genetic engineering of grape and other crops by Drs. Zhijian Li and Dennis Gray at the University of Florida/IFAS Central Florida Research and Education Center, the patent applies to use of the BDPC to control gene expression in all eukaryotic organisms (e.g., plants and animals). Thus far, the BDPC has been demonstrated to function in plants belonging to the genera Arabidopsis, Citrus, Nicotiana and Vitis. Developmental research is under way to demonstrate the utility of the BDPC in other organisms. See http://www.mrec.ifas.ufl.edu/grapes/genetics for description of the Gray laboratories activities and access to recent publications and presentations.

The BDPC patent and a number of other US and foreign patents developed by Drs. Gray and Li involving cell culture, selection, plant regeneration and the use of novel genes for disease resistance are exclusively licensed from the University of Florida by Florida Genetics, LLC, with home offices in St. Petersburg, Florida. This portfolio represents approximately 40% of all US patents concerning grape biotechnology as well as related international patents. Florida Genetics foresees multiple applications of the BDPC in crop improvement, including engineering plants for disease resistance and biomass production as well as engineering microbes for improved biofuel production. Field tests of grapevines containing BDPC regulated genes for both bacterial and fungal disease resistance are currently in progress.

The primary business focus of Florida Genetics is the development and marketing of disease resistant grapevines. Introduction of resistant vines into commercial use will permit a significant reduction in pesticide utilization in many agricultural zones. Application of its patented biotechnologies to other plant species and to biomass and biofuel production, either by direct product development or by sublicensing, is an additional area of focus for Florida Genetics.

For further information concerning the Bidirectional Dual Promoter Complex or related technologies contact Dr. Dennis J. Gray or Dr. William M. Blackshear.

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