SBIR Phase II: Applying Transgenic Technology to Improve the Pearl Production Process
National Science Foundation
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Small Business Information
Black Pearls Inc
P.O. Box 525, Holualoa, HI, 96725
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractThis Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will develop the technology to produce faster growing oysters that yield bigger and higher quality pearls than those currently available. Prior Phase I work has already shown the production of the first-ever verifiable transgenic pearl oysters, and the successful isolation of the first nacre gene from Pinctada margaritifera. The proposed work in this Phase II project will demonstrate commercial viability by isolating other potentially-important genes from Pinctada, refining proven transfection methods, and evaluating nacre quality and deposition rates in transgenic phenotypes. Biosecure land-based grow-out of transgenic oysters, as mantle-tissue donors only, will increase application efficiency and overcome environmental concerns. The commercial application of this project will be in the black pearl market that is estimated to be of the order of $ 5 billion worldwide. A U.S.-led expansion of this lucrative industry could provide economic benefits to Hawaii and to U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands, increasing investment, employment opportunities and self-sufficiency in these remote islands, and reducing the economic burden on the U.S. Government.
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