I am not a gene jock, but am fairly familiar with this stuff.
> My general understanding is that:
> 1) public or private scientists isolate single genes which confer
> "valuable" traits
That is my understanding. But it seems like a trial-and-error process to a
some extent. We have bench after bench of postdocs cloning every imaginable
thing into corn, including some real long-shot ideas. It really seems like
an extension of the traditional plant breeding mindset.
> 2) private biotech companies patent the genes along with
> technologies for vectoring them
There are only a very few practical methods for transformation. These are
mostly well-established. I believe that genes are not exactly patented, but
transgenic events and their corresponding uses are patented.
> 3) seed companies pay licensing fees for adding the genes to their
> varieties using bundled vectoring technologies
I don't know what "bundled vectoring technologies" means. Transformation is
often done on a variety of the crop selected to be amenable to
transformation. Sometimes these are real dogs agronomically (hence, yield
drag). Once the trans-gene is introduced, it is handled and managed like
any other trait using marker-assisted back-crossing. Stacking two traits is
normally accomplished by back-crossing one trait into one parent and the
other trait into the other parent (most transgenic traits are dominant).
Companies which develop valuable inbred lines or traits often market these
to other seed companies, who use them to make their own varieties.
Trans-genes are no different than endogenous genes in this respect, except
that the regulatory environment is a lot more stringent.
> Can someone confirm/correct this framework and fill in the
> details or refer me to a web site....
My friend Dave Dornbos at Novartis has put together a dynamite symposium to
be held the morning of November 6 at the American Society of Agronomy
meetings in Minneapolis. The symposium will include papers on adventitious
pollen movement, regulatory issues, detection and testing of GMO
contamination, and practical problems of seed production. The speakers are
people who are dealing with these problems in real life, not PR reps.
I would like to invite you all to the symposium. There is also a CSSA
plenary session on Tuesday afternoon (Nov. 7) on Genetically Modified Foods.
Also several other symposia on related subjects are planned. There will be
a lot of vigorous debate and diverse views presented at the meetings.
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