40 / SEEDWORLD.COM DECEMBER 2018 WHO OWNS CRISPR? That’s a billion-dollar question, literally. Those involved in life sciences are closely watch- ing the developments. In 2012, Jennifer Doudna, a biochemist at the University of California, Berkeley, published the first paper on the enzyme in Science, and in May of that year, Berkeley filed a patent application for the basic CRISPR technology. In December of 2012, the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT filed an application but paid an extra fee for an expedited route to patent CRISPR in eukaryotic cells (those in plants, animals and people). In 2017, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Feng Zhang and the Broad team the patent for using CRISPR- Cas9 to edit DNA in mammals. Doudna’s team appealed the decision but the USPTO’s patent trial and appeal board decided in favor of the Broad. Their reason: the two teams’ discoveries didn’t overlap and that the Broad’s patents cov- ered a truly separate innovation. Again the Berkeley team appealed that decision, and it went before federal judges in Washington, D.C., April 30. At the time of print, a decision had not been made but it’s expected in the 2018 calendar year. Earlier this year (2018), the USPTO awarded UC-Berkeley its first CRISPR- related patent; it focuses on using The question is unanswered, but one life science company had the foresight to corral the right licensing agreements from both inventing parties. Julie Deering jdeering@issuesink.com Who Owns CRISPR? 4. DNA repairs itself. Engineered sequence of DNA can be inserted into the gene to further modify it. HOW CRISPR-CAS9 WORKS 1. Researcher identifies a specific sequence of DNA to modify. 2. Researcher engineers a guide RNA to match the targeted DNA sequence. Guide RNA is attached to a DNA-cutting enzyme known as Cas9. 3. Guide RNA finds targeted DNA sequence on the genome. Cas9 cuts the DNA strand at the target, preparing it for repair or replacement. CRISPR-Cas9 to edit single-stranded RNA (not DNA). A second patent came shortly after, which centers on using the standard CRISPR-Cas9 system to edit regions specifically 10-15 base pairs long. To date, there are more than 60 CRISPR-related patents in the United States that have been awarded to inven- tors at 18 different organizations. But globally, more than 18,000 individual patent applications and granted patents, according to Jack Hopwood, a consultant with Clarivate Analytics. According to one report, the market for this gene-editing technology is 514 is the number of patents and applications globally owned by Corteva Agriscience, formerly DowDuPont. 100 new CRISPR-related inventions are disclosed every month. LOCKED UP: DISCOVER THE KEYS TO THE COMPLEX WORLD OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY.