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KeyGene Crop, Animal Breeding Patent Upheld in Europe

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – KeyGene announced today the European Patent Office (EPO) has upheld one of its patents related to the improvement of phenotypic traits of plants or animals.

The patent — EP 2813141 — was issued in 2015 and claims genomic and mathematical strategies for identifying combinations of individuals within a breeding population — namely crop plants or cattle — that would yield "the highest estimated probability of improving at least one phenotypic trait of interest in ... subsequent generations." In mid-2016, German plant breeding firm KWS Saat opposed the patent.

KeyGene said that after oral proceedings stemming from the opposition, the EPO has upheld the patent.

"We see that genomic selection is increasingly becoming the method of choice for improving complex traits in crops, thanks to our current capabilities of high-resolution genotyping," Roeland van Ham, vice president of bioinformatics and modeling at KeyGene, said in a statement. "We are pleased with the confirmation of our invention in this emerging field."