KeyGene Expands KeyPoint Mutation Breeding


The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office grants KeyGene patents US 9,574,230, US 9,657,335 and US 9,670,542, titled ”High throughput screening of naturally occurring polymorphisms.” This strengthens the company’s global patent portfolio protecting its KeyPoint technology and expand KeyGene’s global portfolio following earlier grants of patents for methods to screen populations using next generation sequencing approaches in Australia, Canada, China, Europe, Japan and the United States.

KeyGene has used the KeyPoint technology in more than 25 vegetables, field crops and ornamental plant species for clients worldwide to improve a variety of traits including drought resistance, flower color, plant architecture and resistances to various plant pathogens. Improvement of such traits significantly contributes to the development of improved crops that are needed to feed our growing and aging world population in a sustainable way.

“We are very pleased with the steady expansion of our patent portfolio of this unique technology platform,” says Michiel van Eijk, KeyGene chief science officer. “Our patent position has been challenged in various territories, both pre- and post-grant, without any impact on its claim scope, confirming the strength and validity of our invention. We are dedicated to offer our clients and licensees the best methods available to perform mutation detection.”

The KeyPoint technology was first published in a peer-reviewed journal by KeyGene in 2009 for detection of induced mutations and natural variation. For application in crops, the KeyPoint mutation detection methodology is also known as TILLING by Sequencing (TbyS) or Deep Variant Scanning (DVS) and represents KeyGene’s trait improvement engine providing breeders access to novel genetic variation in targeted genes. According to the company, exclusive benefits of KeyPoint screening include rapid generation of new pre-breeding material with superior trait performance at an industrial scale without the need for deregulation of the resulting varieties.

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