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4-Patents: GE papaya patent causes concerns in Thailand



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   "Agriculture Minister Somsak Thepsuthin yesterday dismissed a claim
    by environmental lobby group Greenpeace that Cornell University of
    the United States had patented the genes of a papaya disease based
    on a joint work with Thai researchers. He said the university had
    applied for a patent to protect its technique of transferring genes
    between papaya seeds. 'It's the technique they discovered. It has
    nothing to do with Thailand,' Somsak told reporters."
                                                    The Nation, Thailand
                                                               9 Sep 2004

   "What is claimed is:
     1. A DNA construct comprising in operable linkage:
    [...]
     7. A transgenic plant seed comprising the DNA construct according to
        claim 1.
     8. The transgenic plant seed according to claim 7, wherein the plant
        is papaya.
    [...]
    19. A transgenic plant transformed with the DNA construct according
        to claim 11."
                                           United States Patent 6,750,382
                                                              15 Jun 2004
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                                 PART I
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Somsak disputes papaya patent claims
SOURCE: The Nationa, Thailand, by
        http://www.nationmultimedia.com/page.arcview.php3?clid=3&id=105674
        &date=2004-09-09&usrsess=1
DATE:   9 Sep 2004 

------------------- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/ -------------------


Somsak disputes papaya patent claims

Agriculture Minister Somsak Thepsuthin yesterday dismissed a claim by
environmental lobby group Greenpeace that Cornell University of the
United States had patented the genes of a papaya disease based on a joint
work with Thai researchers.

He said the university had applied for a patent to protect its technique
of transferring genes between papaya seeds.

"It's the technique they discovered. It has nothing to do with Thailand,"
Somsak told reporters. The minister added, however, that a memorandum of
understanding on the joint work between the US institution and Thai
researchers had been drafted. He said the MoU was aimed at protecting
Thailand's rights involving the genes of local papayas and discoveries
regarding the joint research on the papaya ring spot virus, a disease
widely found in Thailand.

Somsak said the draft MoU had been forwarded to the Attorney General's
Office for consultation and he expected it to be returned to him in a few
days.

On Tuesday, Greenpeace adviser Gerard Greenfield said the US university's
Cornell Research Foundation, which worked alongside Thailand's
Agriculture Department to research genetically-modified (GM) papayas,
patented the DNA structure of the papaya ring spot virus and a technique
to make papayas resistant to the disease.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Department director-general Chakarn Saengruksawong
yesterday said the agency had requested written explanations from Cornell
University about Greenpeace's claim. He said the agency would protest if
it discovered it stood to lose. Chakarn said he had learned that patent
applications had been filed with the US Patents and Trademark Office but
none of them had as yet been endorsed.

In a related development, Bantoon Setthasiroj, a member of the National
Human Rights Commission, yesterday said a subcommittee on GMOs discovered
that a Thai researcher from the Agriculture Department was among 10
people who jointly applied for the patent involving the papaya ringspot virus.

He said the commission would convene today to discuss possible action in
response to the patent application.


                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  GMO DEBATE: Papaya disease 'patented'
SOURCE: The Nation, Thailand, by Sirinart Sirisunthorn & Saowalak Pumyaem
        http://www.nationmultimedia.com/page.arcview.php3?clid=3&id=105593
        &date=2004-09-08&usrsess=1
DATE:   8 Sep 2004 

------------------- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/ -------------------


GMO DEBATE: Papaya disease 'patented'
Greenpeace says farmers face tough times

A US research organisation has patented the genes of a papaya disease
widely found in Thailand.

And environmental lobby group Greenpeace has warned that Thai farmers and
researchers might find themselves having to pay for future use of the
genes and seeds developed using the patented techniques.

The Cornell Research Foundation, which worked alongside Thailand's
Agriculture Department to research genetically modified (GM) papayas,
patented the DNA structure of the papaya ring spot virus and a technique
to make papayas resistant to the disease, Greenpeace adviser Gerard
Greenfield said yesterday.

The US Patents and Trademark Office (USPTO) awarded the patent to the
foundation in midJune, he said. Cornell Research, part of Cornell
University, also applied with the USPTO for two more patents to protect
its discoveries related to the protein makeup of another papaya virus
found in Thailand, Brazil, Jamaica, Mexico and Venezuela, Greenfield said.

He said a Cornell researcher named Denis Gonzales had applied for the
patent, claiming a discovery about the virus' genetic data.

Greenfield yesterday said that Gonzales' work to decode the genetic
makeup of the diseases relied on samples of the ring spot virus provided
by Agriculture Department researchers 10 years ago.

Greenfield suggested Thai researchers protest the patent.

He warned that life was set to become more difficult for Thai farmers,
because at least 14 patents had been registered involving papayas. He
said that in the US and Canada, many papaya growers had been sued for
patent infringements.

A source from the Agriculture Department yesterday confirmed cooperation
between the agency and Cornell University, but said he doubted any patent
was registered involving Thai GM papayas.

The source said a joint experiment was ongoing and was not yet complete.

The Thai side needed the US institution's GMO technologies and funding,
said the source, explaining the collaboration. In their agreement Thai
farmers have the right to benefit from the findings for free.

Meanwhile, a senior agriculture official yesterday said tests of papaya
samples collected from plantations in Khon Kaen had detected no
contamination of geneticallymodified organisms.

Agriculture Department directorgeneral Chakarn Saengruksawong said that
out of 200 samples collected, 40 had thus far been tested.

Samples will be collected from some 2,600 plantations managed by farmers
who bought papaya seeds from the department's agricultural research
station in Khon Kaen, the country's largest supplier of papaya seeds, he said.

The samples included some from a papaya orchard that Greenpeace has
claimed was contaminated by GM trees, he said.

"The tests show no traces of GM contamination," Chakarn said, adding that
he believed the findings could be verified by any neutral laboratory.

He also said 600 more samples would be collected later this week, and the
test results submitted to Agriculture Minister Somsak Thepsuthin.

In late July, activists from Greenpeace Southeast Asia raided and sealed
off the Khon Kaen research station, accusing the government of breaking a
ban on GMOs. They said lab tests proved the research station had
distributed GM papaya seeds to farmers.


-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  DNA constructs and methods to impart resistance to papaya ringspot
        virus on plants
        United States Patent 6,750,382
SOURCE: U.S. Patent Office
        http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&
        p=1&u=/netahtml/search-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=ptxt&s1=
        Gonsalves&s2=papaya&OS=Gonsalves+AND+papaya&RS=Gonsalves+AND+papaya
DATE:   15 Jun 2004 

------------------- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/ -------------------


United States Patent 6,750,382

Pang, et al.
June 15, 2004

DNA constructs and methods to impart resistance to papaya ringspot virus
on plants

Abstract

The present invention is directed to a DNA construct comprising a first
DNA molecule having a length insufficient to independently impart
resistance to papaya ringspot virus to plants transformed with said first
DNA molecule, wherein the first DNA molecule is from a DNA molecule
encoding a papaya ringspot virus coat protein and is at least 110
nucleotides in length. The construct also comprises a second DNA of at
least 400 nucleotides in length, which is coupled to the first DNA
molecule so that the first and second DNA molecules collectively achieve
post-transcriptional silencing and impart resistance to papaya ringspot
virus. Alternately, the DNA construct can comprise a plurality of DNA
molecules each of which is at least 110 nucleotides and at least one of
which is from a DNA encoding a papaya ringspot viral coat protein and is
insufficient in length to independently impart resistance to papaya
ringspot virus to plants.

Inventors: Pang; Sheng-Zhi (Ellisville, MO); Gonsalves; Dennis (Geneva,
NY); Jan; Fuh-Jyh (Ithaca, NY)
Assignee: Cornell Research Foundation, Inc. (Ithaca, NY)
Appl. No.: 943215
Filed: August 30, 2001

[...]

Claims

What is claimed is:

1. A DNA construct comprising in operable linkage:
a single promoter sequence which effects transcription of a plurality of
DNA molecules;
a plurality of DNA molecules each of which is at least 110 nucleotides in
length and at least one of which is of a length insufficient to impart
resistance to papaya ringspot virus to plants transformed therewith and
is from a DNA encoding papaya ringspot virus coat protein, wherein the
plurality of DNA molecules collectively are at least 510 nucleotides in
length, and wherein the plurality of DNA molecules effect post-
transcriptional silencing of papaya ringspot virus coat protein and
impart resistance to papaya ringspot virus in plants transformed with
said DNA construct; and
a single termination sequence which ends transcription of the plurality
of DNA molecules.

2. An expression vector comprising the DNA construct according to claim 1.

3. A host cell transformed with the DNA construct according to claim 1.

4. The host cell according to claim 3, wherein the cell is selected from
the group consisting of a bacterial cell, a yeast cell, and a plant cell.

5. A transgenic plant transformed with the DNA construct according to claim 1.

6. The transgenic plant according to claim 5, wherein the plant is papaya.

7. A transgenic plant seed comprising the DNA construct according to claim 1.

8. The transgenic plant seed according to claim 7, wherein the plant is
papaya.

9. A method of imparting papaya ringspot virus resistance to a plant
comprising:
transforming a plant with the DNA construct according to claim 1, thereby
imparting papaya ringspot virus resistance to the plant.

10. The method according to claim 9, wherein the plant is papaya.

11. A DNA construct comprising in operable linkage:
a single promoter sequence;
a first DNA molecule which has a length that is insufficient to
independently impart resistance to papaya ringspot virus to plants
transformed with said first DNA molecule, wherein the first DNA molecule
is from a DNA molecule encoding a papaya ringspot virus coat protein and
is at least 110 nucleotides in length;

a second DNA molecule wherein the second DNA molecule is coupled to the
first DNA molecule, wherein the second DNA molecule is at least 400
nucleotides in length, wherein the first DNA molecule and the second DNA
molecule collectively achieve post-transcriptional silencing of papaya
ringspot virus coat protein and impart resistance to papaya ringspot
virus to plants transformed with said DNA construct; and wherein the
single promoter sequence effects transcription of the first DNA molecule
and the second DNA molecule; and
a single termination sequence which ends transcription of the first DNA
molecule and the second DNA molecule.

12. The DNA construct according to claim 11, wherein said second DNA
molecule is selected from the group consisting of a viral DNA molecule, a
fluorescence protein encoding DNA molecule, and combinations thereof.

13. The DNA construct according to claim 11, wherein said fragment of the
first DNA molecule and the second DNA molecule encode RNA molecules which
are translatable.

14. The DNA construct according to claim 11, wherein the first DNA
molecule and the second DNA molecule are nontranslatable.

15. The DNA construct according to claim 11, wherein the fragment of the
first DNA molecule and the second DNA molecule do not interact with one
another.

16. An expression vector comprising the DNA construct of claim 11.

17. A host cell transformed with the DNA construct according to claim 11.

18. The host cell according to claim 17, wherein the cell is selected
from the group consisting of a bacterial cell, a yeast cell, and a plant cell.

19. A transgenic plant transformed with the DNA construct according to
claim 11.

20. The transgenic plant according to claim 19, wherein the second DNA
molecule is heterologous to the plant.

21. The transgenic plant according to claim 19, wherein the plant is papaya.

22. A transgenic plant seed comprising the DNA construct according to
claim 11.

23. The transgenic plant seed according to claim 22, wherein the plant is
papaya.

24. A method of imparting papaya ringspot virus resistance to a plant
comprising:
transforming a plant with the DNA construct according to claim 11,
thereby imparting papaya ringspot virus resistance to the plant.

25. The method according to claim 24, wherein the plant is papaya. 


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