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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Modification of Cereal Grain Hardness
See also: US Patent Office Full Record

Pacific West Area
  Pullman, Washington

Patent Number: 6596930
Docket Number: 13198
Serial Number: 9083852
Date Patented: 07/22/2003

Technology Description:

The invention is a way to modify grain texture by genetically introducing specific puroindoline protein genes or anti-sense nucleic acid constructs to cereal plants such as wheat, oats, rye, corn and rice. Puroindoline proteins control the hard or soft texture of wheat, which is the only crop that currently can have its grain texture modified through conventional breeding. However, conventional breeding can result in problems such as reproductive incompatibility by the parent plants and the need to use more inputs to produce a hybrid plant. The invention can modify texture in both transgenic and progeny plants.

By adding puroindoline genes to the genome of a cereal plant, the grain texture becomes softer than its parent.  Conversely, when puroindoline genes are blocked in wheat, the grain texture becomes harder than the parent plant.  The invention uses standard techniques for cloning, DNA and RNA isolation, amplification and purification.  Grain texture is particularly important in achieving quality of end products such as flour and foodstuffs.  Grain texture also dictates differences in taste, water absorption and milling characteristics.  The invention is a more efficient way to tailor grains for specific end uses such as pasta, cookies, and cakes.

Food processing and baking industries could use this technology.  Companies engaged in the development of transgenic plants and seed would also benefit from this technology.


Please refer to USPN 6,596,930 (Docket #0131.98), "Modification of Ceeal Grain Hardness Via Expression of Puroindoline Protein," which issued on July 22, 2003.

Foreign rights are available.


Craig Franklin Morris  
Wheat Genetics, Quality, 
  Physiology and Disease Research
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164-6394
(509) 335-4062 / Fax: (509) 335-8573
Michael Joseph Giroux 
Department of Plant Sciences
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717
(406) 994-7877


Last Modified: 10/1/2015