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Calgene Gets Patent for Gene Control Method

December 04, 1996|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Davis-based Calgene Inc. received a U.S. patent for its method of controlling the concentration of genes in plant plastids. Because each plant cell contains one nucleus and many plastids, scientists found it was better to add genes to plastids rather than the nucleus in order to increase gene concentration in a plant. The patent covers the company's decision to add an inducer molecule to the gene in order to control the concentration of the gene once it is added to the plastid. A company spokesman said this method allows scientists to control changes to specific parts of the plant. Plastid transformation technology can be used in the production of raw materials for pharmaceutical products, biodegradable plastics and insect- and herbicide-resistant plants. Calgene shares rose 25 cents to close at $5.56 on Nasdaq.

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