According to Dr Jim Haseloff of the University of Cambridge: "The field needs a new two-tier system for intellectual property so that new tools including DNA components are freely shared, while investment in applications can be protected."
"This will enable greater participation in innovation for sustainable agriculture and innovation."
Dr Nicola Patron, Head of Synthetic Biology at The Sainsbury Laboratory, another key partner organisation in Norwich, said: "Current intellectual property practices threaten to stifle innovation in plant technology. By creating DNA resources and tools that are free to use, OpenPlant will foster the kind of innovation seen at the emergence of other new technologies such as microelectronics and computer software."
OpenPlant unites two leaders in the field. The University of Cambridge has played an important role in many key scientific discoveries in biology, from the structure of the double helix to next generation DNA sequencing. The John Innes Centre is a world-leader in plant and microbial research that benefits farmers, the environment, humans and economies worldwide. Scientific discoveries about synthetic DNA systems will feed future innovation by researchers at both institutions.
JIC scientists have also pioneered innovative engagement between scientists and the public such as through the Science, Art and Writing (SAW) initiative. Social scientists on the OpenPlant project will help map feasible technical approaches to challenges, such finding a less energy-intensive alternative to nitrogen fertilisers, considering the economic and social implications for different scenarios.
|Contact: Becky Allen|
University of Cambridge