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Australian ‘gene-silencing’ technology licensed by forestry company

Australian-'gene-silencing'-technology-licensed-by-forestry-company

Australia's peak scientific body has licensed its gene sequencing technology which is capable of enhancing yield from common crops.
 
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) announced that global forestry company FuturaGene has become the 30th company worldwide to license the RNA interface (RNAI) technology.
 
Ming-Bo Wang, Senior Research Scientist with the CSIRO, said that RNAI is capable of developing more resilient forestry crops as well as enhancing yield from renewable plantations.
 
Other companies which have licensed the technology have used it to grow potatoes that don't go brown and animal feed that is easier to digest.
 
RNAI works by silencing single genes in a sequence, thus changing the nature of a plant or crop.
 
Wang has worked on RNAI since the mid-1990s and in 2007 was awarded the Prime Minister's Prize for Science for the project.
 
"One of the projects we were working on at the time was with the potato chip industry; we were trying to develop a virus resistant potato," Wang said in a media release on Thursday.
 
"We discovered that when plants are attacked by viruses they use double-stranded RNA to mount a counter-attack.
 
"We realized we could make use of this 'virus immune' response to develop a mechanism that would stop individual genes from passing on information."
 
"At first we didn't think much of it but when we realized we'd uncovered a fundamental mechanism for silencing genes, we knew there would be widespread applications."
The CSIRO used the technology to develop safflower seed oil with 93 percent oleic acid, a key component in industrial chemicals and lubricants. 

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