Cisgenesis: an important sub-invention for traditional plant breeding companies

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Modern plant breeding is highly dependent on new technologies to master future problems. More traits have to be combined, frequently originating from wild species. Traditional breeding is connected with linkage drag problems. The crop plant itself and its crossable species represent the traditional breeders gene pool. GM-breeding is a new way of improving existing varieties. Transgenes originate from non-crossable species and are representing a new gene pool. For release of GM-plants into the environment and onto the market in Europe Directive 2001/18/EC has been developed, primarily based on GM-technology and not on gene source. In society, opposition against GM crops is complicating the implementation of GM crops. In this paper, it is shown that not only transgenes, representing a new gene pool but also cisgenes and intragenes are available, representing the breeders gene pool. Cisgenes are natural genes and intragenes are composed of functional parts of natural genes from the crop plant itself or from crossable species. Cisgenesis is the combined use of only cisgenes with marker-free transformation, mimicking linkage drag free introgression breeding in one step. Therefore, cisgenesis is a new sub-invention in the traditional breeding field and indicates the need for reconsideration of GM Directives. Inventions are frequently containing not only hardware elements, but also software and orgware elements. For cisgenesis it is foreseen that the technical (hardware) and bioinformatic (software) elements will develop smoothly, but that implementation in society is highly dependent on acceptance and regulations (orgware). It could be made in a step by step approach by specific crop-gene derogations from the Directive, followed by adding cisgenesis to annex 1b of Directive 2001/18/EC for exemption. At present GM crops can only be introduced by large companies. An open innovation approach for cisgenesis by public private partnership including traditional SMEs has been discussed. Cisgenesis has been exemplified for resistance breeding of potato to Phytophthtora infestans.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-247
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • broad-spectrum resistance
  • late blight resistance
  • solanum-bulbocastanum
  • phytophthora-infestans
  • potato
  • gene

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