Innovative Israeli study to develop biological solutions for agriculture

Ag-biotech company PlantArcBio and TAU to collaborate on the development of RNAi-based products and environmentally friendly solutions.

A DNA double helix is seen in an undated artist's illustration released by the National Human Genome Research Institute to Reuters on May 15, 2012. (photo credit: REUTERS/NATIONAL HUMAN GENOME RESEARCH INSTITUTE/HANDOUT)
A DNA double helix is seen in an undated artist's illustration released by the National Human Genome Research Institute to Reuters on May 15, 2012.
(photo credit: REUTERS/NATIONAL HUMAN GENOME RESEARCH INSTITUTE/HANDOUT)

PlantArcBio and Tel Aviv University (TAU) will collaborate in a study to improve plants genetically, TAU announced on Tuesday.

PlantArcBio, an ag-biotech company engaged in research and development  in the field of botanic and biological gene discovery, will cooperate with Ramot, Tel Aviv University Technology Transfer Company, in a first-of-its-kind study to develop innovative RNAi-based biological solutions for agriculture.

Professor Dan Peer, developer of unique lipid-based RNA delivery technology and TAU vice president for research and development (R&D), is a pioneer using RNA to manipulate cells in cancer and other immune related diseases. 

What is RNAi technology?

RNA interference (RNAi) technology enables a temporary external disruption of RNA molecules, diminishing the amount of mRNA, and in that way temporarily reducing the expression of specific genes. This procedure does not modify or genetically change the organism's DNA. PlantArcBio signed four agreements for development and commercializing in this field, including insect and pest control, as well as crop improvement products. 

The research will focus on testing the joint technology's contribution to the stability of RNA-interfered-based products and their abilities to get in plants and insects.

Prof. Dan Peer. (credit: TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY)Prof. Dan Peer. (credit: TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY)

Prof. Dan Peer said, "We are pleased to partner with PlantArcBio and its breakthrough RNAi technology. This collaboration will allow us to evaluate the synergy between our respective technologies as well as the possibility for expanding the applications of our RNA delivery technology to the agricultural arena."

"We see great value in contributing to the development of RNAi-based products addressing global issues and providing an ecological and environmentally friendly solution to the global challenges of sustainability in agriculture and food security," he added.

Dror Shalitin, founder and CEO of PlantArcBio, said, “It is an honor for us to partner with Ramot, and with Prof. Peer, a world-renowned scientist in the field of RNA."

"We see this as an additional stamp of approval for our unique and innovative RNAi technology. We look forward to the results of the newly launched study, expected within approximately 12 months." Added.

DNA in its essence is the code from which genes are made. Its code carries the instructions to the development, function, growth and reproduction of all living things. RNA is a copy of DNA used to build proteins. By modifying the RNA, it is possible to change the proteins coded from it, thus changing the cell's function.