Inari announced it has secured exclusive patent licenses for epigenetics from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). The agreement, through UCLA’s Technology Development Group, gives Inari access to tools that will positively influence crop performance without altering a plant’s genetic code.
Steve Jacobsen, the UCLA professor who discovered this technology, is a scientific co-founder of Inari and a world-renowned expert in plant epigenetics, natural mechanisms that will enable Inari to re-introduce genetic diversity. When applied to plant breeding, epigenetics has the potential to dramatically improve field performance and confer other beneficial characteristics to crops.
“Discoveries that take place in our labs directly help solve global issues, and the fragility of the food system has been an issue of concern for some time now,” says Roger Wakimoto, UCLA vice chancellor for research. “By licensing our technology to Inari, we’re able to apply high-impact research and scientific techniques to the private sector and watch the benefits unfold.”
Inari’s license through UCLA differentiates and strengthens its product development process, known as the Seed Foundry, and broadens its toolset to transform plant breeding and address global challenges, including climate change. The company is currently developing its first wave of commercial crops, including corn, soy and wheat.
“Collaboration and partnerships drive change that addresses the critical problems we face globally in agriculture,” says Ponsi Trivisvavet, CEO of Inari. “Licensing this technology from UCLA provides us with a robust new approach that strengthens our efforts to create a winning food system.”
Jacobsen’s research will appear in today’s issue of Nature Communications. Other Jacobsen epigenetics discoveries were featured Feb. 7 in Cell, a pre-eminent scientific journal that “publishes findings of unusual significance” in areas of experimental biology.