1. Part I. INTRODUCTION TO. PLANT BIOTECHNOLOGY. Plant Biotechnology. Vietnam OpenCourseWare. April Le Bui Van. University of Science. Introduction in Plant Biotechnology, history and general information. Techniques enabling introduction of foreign genes into the plant. The techniques of plant organ, tissue and cell culture have evolved over several decades (Table 1). These techniques combined with recent advances in.

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Get this from a library! Introduction to plant biotechnology. [H S Chawla]. Plant biotechnology has created unprecedented opportunities for the manipulation of biological systems of plants. To understand biotechnology, it is essential to. Subject information. Name Plant Biotechnology. Subject area Specific optional subjects Unit I: Introduction to Plant Biotechnology. Unit II: Plant tissue culture.

During the last three decades, there have been numerous meetings and consultations at the international level for streamlining the availability and utilization of existing biological resources in an equitable manner.

This has been necessitated by revolutionary developments in the life sciences and possibilities of generating immense economic benefits. This situation is in contrast to the era of the Green Revolution when all the germplasm developed was easily available throughout the world and many developing countries greatly benefited from it.

At that time no issues regarding IPRs were raised. It is in this context that agriculture figures prominently in all the deliberations of the WTO wherein various aspects have been strongly contested between countries of different blocks with different interests [15].

The main international agreements that impact on IP for crop biosecurity are as follows. A trade secret is commonly regarded as any formula, pattern, device, or compilation of information that is used in a business and gives that business an opportunity to obtain advantages over competitors. The information is kept from the public and from competitors, usually by the use of confidentiality agreements with employees.

Plant Cell and Tissue Culture. A Tool in Biotechnology

These agreements confer an obligation on the employees to keep the information secret. These agreements can be enforced by the court. Generally, for a trade secret to exist there must have been: Secrecy: In the form of a confidentiality agreement or covenant. External forms of protection such as security systems, etc. Novelty: The subject of the secrecy must have been novel. Value: The subject of the trade secret must be of some value or give some advantage over competitors. For a breach of a trade secret to occur, there must have been an improper taking.

That is there must have been a breach of the secrecy whether by theft or the breaking of a confidentiality agreement.

One advantage of using trade secret law to protect an invention is the unlimited time for protection. Some disadvantages, however, are that trade secret protection does not prevent competitors from legally reverse engineering a product to determine the secret or from independently duplicating the information.

Inventions involving the use of DNA are now unlikely to be protected by trade secrets due to the ability to reverse engineer. Trade secret laws can be used to protect plants.

Plants can be protected provided that reasonable efforts have been made to keep the plant variety confidential, secret, and out of the public domain. In the United States, trade secrets have been used for decades to protect parental lines of hybrid corn. Laws in Plant Biotechnology varietal lines may be protected by trade secret law subject to the provision that reasonable effort has been taken to preserve the secrecy of the gene sequence the Pioneer Hi-Bred case.

Under Australian law, it is theoretically possible that specific varieties of plants may be afforded protection under the doctrine of confidential information or trade secrets; however, to date, no cases involving the doctrine and plant varieties have been brought before the courts.

As a result it is currently unclear as to the extent of protection available under the doctrine of trade secrets. The gene of interest can thus be expressed at particular stages or generations of the crop. However, in some situations v-GURTs are advantageous to farmers as they reduce the need for tillage and do not sprout inappropriately. Such an economy is dependent upon farmer-produced seed of varieties that are both maintained and further adapted to their local growing conditions by small-scale farmers.

Developing countries with such an economy want to acknowledge the rights of farmers arising from their contribution to crop conservation and development and the sharing of their knowledge on adaptive traits. As a result, some developing countries have chosen a sui generis system of plant protection that is not compliant with UPOV in that it allows farmers to improve and adapt the seed in order to make it more successful in the local conditions.

The regime for plant protection is similar to that set out by UPOV and the requirements for protection are novelty, distinctness, uniformity, and stability.

Under Article 39 iv the farmer is entitled to save, use, sow, resow, exchange, share, or sell his farm product including seed of a protected variety. It is these extra provisions granting rights to both breeders and farmers that make the Indian system a sui generis method of protection.

China and Thailand are other examples of countries that do not implement UPOV-style protection system [19]. It was introduced in order to harmonize and streamline the method of plant variety protection available throughout Europe. As a result, it is not possible to hold protection for the same plant variety under both the Community and a national system at the same time.

Where a CPVR is granted in relation to a variety for which a national right has already been granted, the national right is suspended for the duration of the CPVR. Australia is signed to the Convention. Laws in Plant Biotechnology A choice is usually made between the two protection systems depending on the level of protection sought and the ability to satisfy the necessary requirements. PBRs are generally obtained much faster than a patent due to the lack of examination and are also much cheaper.

They are therefore desirable when protection is required for a short period of time and there is no need to acquire rights over the use of the variety for noncommercial purposes.

Where comprehensive exclusive rights are desired, protection under the patent system would be more suitable. Because the United States offers patents for plant varieties, technically it does not need to also provide a sui generis system.

Changes to the Act made by Amendments in extended statutory protection to F1 hybrids and tuber propagated plants and generally brought the United States into compliance with the UPOV Convention. The Plant Variety Protection Act protects sexually reproduced plants, including first generation F1 hybrids and tuber propagated plants e. The requirements and terms of this protection offered are exactly the same as those outlined in the UPOV Convention.

The Plant Variety Protection Act requires that a deposit of seeds of the new variety be made at an authorized depository, and in the case of F1 hybrids, seeds of the parents must also be deposited.

Simultaneous protection by both a utility patent and a PVPC is allowed. However, applications submitted prior to April 4, effective amendment date might be resubmitted in order to secure the extended term of protection provided by the amendments. They confer a legally enforceable right allowing the owner of a patent to exclude others from practicing the invention as described and claimed in the patent document.

The scope of the property rights is circumscribed by the claims made in the patent, which, in the event of litigation, may be subject to interpretation by the court of law. In agricultural biotechnology, utility patents now cover many kinds of different innovations including research tools, transformation processes, vectors, components of vectors such as markers, promoters, and genes of interest, as well as organisms and their parts.

To protect an innovation in more than one country, a patent must be obtained in each. Applications in multiple European countries can be lodged in each country or be sent for examination by the European Patent Office EPO with subsequent registration on a country-by-country basis. The cost of obtaining a patent varies from country to country; the cost of obtaining protection in all important markets can be very substantial, reaching hundreds of thousands of US dollars.

Beyond the actual filing fees for each country, translation and local legal fees are important components of this cost. Inventions have the legal requirements of utility i. These criteria and their implementation vary among countries. In , the US Supreme Court ruled that utility patents could apply to life forms.

Then in , the US Patent Office Board of Appeals ruled that this utility patent protection could be applied to sexually propagated seeds, plants, and cultured tissue.

In Europe, the EPO has ruled that plant varieties are not patentable, although it has also held that transgenic methods and plants are not per se unpatentable [21]. DNA sequences and amino acid sequences corresponding to the peptides or proteins produced by a naturally occurring organism are unpatentable in a number of countries including Brazil, Cameroon, Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala, and Uzbekistan Thambisetty, The distribution of patents by value is highly skewed. It is not surprising then, that most inventions are patented in just one or a few developed countries with large markets.


The chance that relevant biotech patents have been protected in developing countries is currently quite small, even where patenting of the relevant type of technology is available.

Utility patent grants in the United States show strong growth trends in all four technology categories examined, including plant cell and tissue culture technologies, enabling plant biotechnologies, genetic traits, and germplasm.

By contrast, Europe and Japan show significantly less utility patenting of enabling biotechnologies and genetic traits and none whatsoever of plant germplasm. Laws in Plant Biotechnology tend to follow US patent granting trends, with the notable exception of germplasm where multiple country filings are limited.

Introduction to plant biotechnology

These PCT filings reflect the activity of US firms filing at home and abroad as well as European and Japanese firms filing at their home offices and in the United States. Interestingly, plant cell culture technologies are more intensively patented in Japan than anywhere else in the world, while in the other three plant technology categories the Japanese patent office shows very little or no activity.

In the United States, any living organism that is the product of human intervention such as by some breeding process or laboratory-based alteration qualifies as a composition of matter, which is patentable. As a result, plants are patentable subject matter.

Furthermore, the United States has extended patent protection to plants produced by either sexual or asexual reproduction and to plant parts including seeds and tissue cultures. Natural source material should not be coverable by patents as exclusionary rights in any country in the world, because natural source material is not novel. In the United States and Australia individual plant varieties are patentable. In Europe, individual plant varieties per se are not patentable; however, a plant that is characterized by a particular gene as opposed to its whole genome is not included in the definition of a plant variety and is therefore patentable.

In Europe, transgenic plants are patentable if they are not restricted to a specific plant variety, but represent a broader plant grouping. Farmers are not permitted, however, to resell the patented seed.

Limited types of plants are eligible for protection.

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The Plant Patent Act provides for patent protection of all asexually reproduced plants except tuber propagated plants and plants found in an uncultivated state. Plant patents encompass newly found plant varieties as well as cultivated spores, mutants, hybrids, and newly found seedlings on the provison that they reproduce asexually.


Asexual reproduction is defined as any reproductive process that does not involve the union of individuals or germ cells. It is the propagation of a plant to multiply the plant without the use of genetic seeds. Modes of asexual reproduction in plants include grafting, bulbs, apomictic seeds, rhizomes, and tissue culture. Specifically excluded from protection under the Plant Patent Act are tuber propagated plants and plants found in an uncultivated state.

The requirements that must be fulfilled in order to obtain a plant patent are the same as those for utility patents. However, the implementation of these requirements is less stringent.

In contrast to utility patents, plant patents only protect a single plant or genome and the protection conferred is quite limited. It does not protect the plant characteristics, mutants of the patented plant, nor technologies associated with its cultivation.

Because plant patents are granted on the entire plant, it follows that only one claim per plant patent is permitted. The Plant Patent Act was amended on October 27, to extend the exclusive right to plant parts obtained from protected varieties but it is not applied retroactively. A utility patent and a plant patent can both be obtained to protect the same plant.

It is possible to obtain protection for the same plant under both a utility patent and a plant patent in the United States at the same time, provided that the requirements for patentability for both types of patents are fulfilled. It should be emphasized that at the time of editing there are no commercial examples of GURTs known anywhere in the world, apart from one civil society organization who has applied patent application that had not reduced the technology to commercial practice.

There are no international agreements that regulate the law of contracts.

Material most often transferred includes plant varieties, transgenic plants, cell lines, germplasm, vectors, chemicals, equipment, or software. Further reading information and web-links particularly to on-line journals are usefully given at the end of each chapter.

More than this, and of special interest, is a dedicated website associated with the book, providing downloadable figures of particular value to lecturers, and update sections. Plant biotechnology is a well thought-out teaching aid, which distinguishes itself in part by its wide-ranging coverage. As might be anticipated, however, for such a subject, the book is not, in parts, an easy read, particularly the introductory immersion provided in Chapter 1, which requires concentrated effort. The different styles and, in parts, intensity of subject coverage are presumably the result of multi-authorship.

None of this detracts, however, from the value of the text, either in content or the coverage. A number of sections in the book are particularly noteworthy and informative, including descriptions of the successful development of glyphosate herbicide resistance and the use of insecticidal Bt genes from Bacillus thuringiensis.

Interesting coverage is also provided of the very important Arabidopsis Genome Sequencing Initiative and the International Rice Genome Sequencing Project, which clearly represent milestones in biotechnology discovery. The authors are also to be commended for addressing prospects for the continuing improvement of crop yields through genetic transformation, which remains a more complex challenge.

Laws in Plant Biotechnology

Political difficulties and some public opposition, especially in Europe, to GM crop products are introduced which is, in itself, a reflection of the book's broad coverage. Although the public mainly in Europe and some governments remain rather sceptical, to date, the growing of about 60 million hectares globally of genetically modified crops by an estimated 5.Print version: These include production improved amino acid composition and protein content ; and of bioactive peptides, vaccines, antibodies, and a variety of oils and fats ratio of saturated to non-saturated fatty acids, pharmaceutical proteins and enzymes for the pharmaceutical increased content of specific valuable fatty acids and others; industry.

However, the very recent agricultural In addition to their use for renewable energy, plant-based revolution i. Laws in Plant Biotechnology All the commitments such as general measures for conservation and sustainable use, in situ and ex situ conservation and sustainable use of the components of biological diversity, access to genetic resources, access to and transfer of technology, handling of biotechnology and distribution of benefits, and financial mechanisms are governed by objectives that are interrelated to each other [8].

Increase in world population and the need for more food This aspect is further discussed in the next section. The fermenter has to be placed in front of the laminar flow to position the funnel in the sterile air stream of the inoculation cabinet.

During the last three decades, there have been numerous meetings and consultations at the international level for streamlining the availability and utilization of existing biological resources in an equitable manner. Up to the s, orchids belonged to the most expensive flowers— the low price nowadays is due to propagation by tissue culture techniques even students can afford an orchid for their sweetheart at their first date!