Ceres gets patent for iCODE multi-gene trait-development system

Ceres said on Friday that it has been awarded a U.S. patent for its Intelligent Combinatorial Optimization and Directed Evolution (iCODE) multi-gene trait-development system.

The company said the patent award is a key step in its plan to further develop and license this technology to other crop firms and groups.

The iCODE system was developed to rapidly create, evaluate and choose optimal combinations of genes and their control components for next-generation biotech traits in crops such as corn and soybeans.

In practice, it allows researchers to empirically test thousands of gene and promoter combinations in a single acre. Unlike first-generation traits, which usually consist of one gene per trait, today's biotech traits under development often pair multiple genes with multiple promoters to produce desired characteristics.

"Seed and trait companies rely on intellectual-property protection, and iCODE could play a key role for companies attempting to access this new IP landscape,"  Ceres President and CEO Richard Hamilton said. "The first to unlock the potential will have a significant advantage in this area."

Creating thousands of gene and promoter combinations that are required to identify optimal candidates is time-consuming and expensive; iCODE helps solve this issue by providing an efficient, high-throughput approach.

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