Dow AgroSciences LLC and Sangamo BioSciences, Inc. announced the successful completion of multiple research milestones as part of their Research and Commercial License Agreement initiated October 2005. The three-year agreement provides Dow AgroSciences with access to Sangamo's proprietary zinc finger DNA-binding protein (ZFP) technology for the development of products in plants and plant cell cultures.
"Our ZFP technology can be used to both regulate and modify genes. Because ZFPs function at the DNA level, a molecule common to essentially every organism, our ZFP platform offers great versatility enabling us to address virtually any gene target in any species," said Philip Gregory, D. Phil., Sangamo's vice president of research.
ZFPs are the dominant class of naturally occurring transcription factors in organisms from yeast to humans. Transcription factors, which are found in the nucleus of every cell, bind to DNA to regulate gene expression. The ability to selectively control specific genes is emerging as a critical tool in modern biotechnology. Though there are many kinds of transcription factors, only ZFPs are amenable to engineering and precise targeting to a particular gene or genes of interest. According to the company Sangamo scientists have created ZFP TFs(TM) that can control gene expression and consequently, cell function, by engineering ZFPs that recognize a specific DNA sequence.