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Kultevat Licenses Plant Gene Expression Technology from Danforth Plant Science Center

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Kultevat today said it has exclusively licensed technology to control plant gene expression from the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.

The license includes applications in the production of natural rubber in Taraxicum species. The technology was developed under the direction of Kultevat CSO Roger Beachy, the former president of the Danforth Center. It is used to introduce natural genetic elements to plants in order to control seed maturation and germination by controlling gene expression via a well-characterized chemical activator or by seed-specific gene promoters that switch on desired genes. The promoters control gene expression that results in the production of plant hormones that regulate the timing of seed maturation and germination.

Kultevat CEO Daniel Swiger said that use of the Danforth technology on Russian dandelion could help in meeting the global need for increased natural rubber production and source diversification. The vast majority of natural rubber is currently derived from one source, the Hevea tree, which grows only in a few major production areas.

"Kultevat is developing an additional source of rubber from [Russian dandelion], a plant that can be grown to produce rubber in more than 42 states in the US," Swiger said in a statement.

Based in St. Louis, Kultevat serves the agricultural markets by producing rubber and mixed sugar feedstocks for the biofuels market.

Financial and other terms of the deal were not disclosed.