EVANSTON, IL (5 November 2018) – 2Blades has completed a non-exclusive license agreement with Epicrop Technologies Inc., for access to 2Blades’ Transcription Activator Like (TAL) effector code technology for applications in advancing research in epigenetic technology.
2Blades holds exclusive rights for commercial uses of the technology in plants. Since its discovery in 2009, the efficacy of TAL effector-based DNA targeting has been established rapidly in a wide range of plant and non-plant systems. The use of the TAL code technology in plants has enhanced the efficiency and precision of the crop improvement process.
“We’re pleased to complete a license with Epicrop for access to the TAL code technology. It provides tools that can advance their efforts to develop epigenetic breeding methods to improve crop yield and stress tolerance”, said 2Blades President Diana Horvath.
“We are pleased to be able to utilize this technology in our research to improve yields and stress tolerance in crops” said Michael Fromm, CEO of Epicrop. “Research with this technology will help us to more efficiently optimize our conventional breeding methods for improving epigenetics in crops. Epigenetics is a form of biological information that has always been present in plants, and can be improved by plant breeding as we learn what features are most beneficial for higher stress tolerance and yields in the farmer’s field. It may seem surprising, to those more familiar with gene editing and other methods, that our epigenetic breeding methods produce plants that do not contain any changes to their genome sequence or introduce any foreign DNA sequences. Epigenetic improvements are analogous to a ‘software update’ that helps the plant’s natural genetics perform better without changing the ‘hardware’ of the genetic sequences.”
The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
The TAL Code technology was discovered by Ulla Bonas, Jens Boch, Thomas Lahaye, and Sebastian Schornack at Martin-Luther University in Halle, Germany and was named 2011 Method of the Year by the journal Nature Methods (9:1 doi:10.1038/nmeth.1852). In 2012, 2Blades was recognized for the TAL Code technology by the Agrow Awards in the category of Best Novel Agricultural Biotechnology.
About 2Blades Foundation
The 2Blades Foundation, based in Evanston, Illinois, is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to the discovery, advancement, and delivery of durable disease resistance in crops. 2Blades establishes and manages development programs addressing significant unsolved crop disease problems in collaboration with leading research institutions around the world and at the 2Blades Group in The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich, UK. 2Blades manages a portfolio of specific traits and enabling technologies that it implements in its own programs and out-licenses for broad use. Visit the 2Blades website at www.2blades.org and follow 2Blades on twitter at @2blades.
About Epicrop Technologies, Inc.
Epicrop Technologies, Inc. is based in Lincoln, Nebraska and was co-founded by Dr. Sally Mackenzie, a pioneer in the use of epigenetics for crop improvement. Epigenetics is a type of biological information that involves changes in gene expression but does not change a plant’s DNA or add genes. In field and greenhouse trials, Epicrop’s epigenetically improved plants—including soybeans, tomatoes and sorghum— show increased yields and stress tolerance. Epicrop is a venture and private investor backed spinout of Dr. Mackenzie’s lab at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.