Evaluating the Feasibility of Commercializing Genetically Engineered Nematode Resistant Anthuriums

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2012-00347
Agency Tracking Number: 2012-00347
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2012
Solicitation Year: 2012
Solicitation Topic Code: 8.2
Solicitation Number: USDA-NIFA-SBIR-003497
Small Business Information
99-1819 AIEA HTS DR, Aiea, HI, 96701-2941
DUNS: 968713532
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Y
Principal Investigator
 Maureen Fitch
 Project Director
 (808) 487-1211
Business Contact
 Maureen Fitch
Title: Owner
Phone: (808) 487-1211
Email: mfitch@harc-hspa.com
Research Institution
Nematodes cause $8 billion in damage to U.S. crops and $80 billion worldwide. Anthurium, a cutflower and potted plant specialty crop, is very susceptible to nematodes, necessitating continued grower reliance on toxic chemical controls that face the threat of being taken off the market at any time. Without controls, field flower production is reduced 50% and plants eventually die. More economical and sustainable controls, such as host plant resistance, are needed. Anthuriums were transformed with RNA interference (silencing) genes for nematode resistance. Silencing a homologous gene in soybean cyst nematodes resulted in 85% reduction of nematode eggs on transgenic soybeans compared to controls. We propose to confirm gene transfer, regenerate plants, and develop a quick, 4-week tissue culture bioassay to screen transgenic lines. The quick bioassay will replace the traditional, expensive 3- to 4-month potted plant bioassay. In this Phase I project, the most resistant lines will be validated by pot tests and prepared for Phase II field tests. Phase II will include completion of pot tests and collection of molecular and field data for federal deregulation, patenting, and intellectual property licensing. In Phase III, the most resistant lines will be advanced toward commercialization by deregulation, intellectual property licensing from the owners of the technologies used, and patenting of the lines. The plants developed will be property of the company and will be licensed for use by growers. Growers benefit from increased yield and revenues from plants with stronger root systems and decreased environmental and worker exposure to toxic chemicals.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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