Plant breeding technology has developed rapidly over the last two decades with the introduction of advanced tissue culture, biochemical and molecular techniques, including marker assisted breeding, protoplast fusion, embryo rescue and mutagenesis. The technology has greatly reduced the time required to develop new plant varieties and improved the accuracy of crosses to produce desired morphological, physiological or genetic traits such as appearance, yield, and disease resistance. Some of the exciting advances that are currently being made in plant breeding are in the areas of crops with increased yield or improved nutritional characteristics, abiotic stress tolerance (drought, salt, cold), improved nitrogen utilisation and improved plant-based fibre and wood qualities.

Plant biotechnology is an emerging science with the potential to provide significant advances in a multitude of areas. Using molecular biology techniques, scientists are now able to engineer plants to express specific genes in a precise, controlled manner. In addition, recombinant plants comprising genetic combinations that were previously not possible have become available. 

Our attorneys have specific expertise in protecting innovation in the following areas: 

  • Marker-assisted breeding 
  • Biological trait selection, including disease and abiotic stress resistance and macromolecule (starch, sugar and oil) modification 
  • Plant tissue culture including preparation of cytoplasmic hybrids 
  • Genetic lineage tracing 
  • Transgenic plants, including both nuclear and chloroplast transgenics, herbicide tolerant plants, pesticidal plants, functional foods, altered flower colour and delayed senescence 
  • Male sterility and hybrid seed production 
  • Plant-based production of industrial chemicals, anti¬bodies and vaccines 
  • Second and third generation biofuel production 
  • Plant Breeder’s Rights 
  • New herbicides, pesticides and fertilisers, including biological agents 
  • Soil microbiology including the production of enhanced rhizosphere microorganisms.