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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: An Improved Method for Identifying Transgenic Plants
See also: US Patent Office Full Record

Plains Area
  Lubbock, Texas

Patent Number: 6939676
Docket Number: 16201
Serial Number: 10331861
Date Patented: 09/06/2005

Technology Description:

ARS researchers have developed a superior method for identifying transgenic plants. This new method offers plant breeders, researchers, and geneticists a more practical and safer way to develop plants using biotechnology techniques. The invention uses temperature selection to help the researcher identify transgenic cells. It is difficult to differentiate between cells containing an introduced gene and cells that do not. Existing gene identification procedures use antibiotic-resistance genes to help identify plants containing incorporated genes. Using this method, if the plant is resistant to the incorporated antibiotic, then the plant is transgenic.

ARS’s method has advantages over traditional procedures. An advantage is that it reduces selection costs, since it does not use expensive antibiotics. This invention allows the use of either heat- or cold-resistance genes, which are introduced into the plant in place of antibiotic resistance genes–a safer procedure. Although this method has only been demonstrated in plants, it could potentially be used for other gene selection programs, like bacteria, yeast, and animal cells, since these thermal protection genes are already present in all living organisms.

Biotechnology companies that develop or manufacture transgenic material can use this technology. For USDA biotechnology information visit the USDA Agricultural Biotechnology Web site at:


Please refer to USPN 6,939,676 (Docket #0162.01), "Selection Procedure for Identifying Transgenic Cells, Embryos, and Plants Without the Use of Antibiotics," which issued on September 6, 2005. Foreign rights are available.


John J. Burke
Plant Sress & Germplasm Development Research
Lubbock, Texas   79415
(806) 749-5560, Ext. 5216 / Fax: (806) 723-5271

Melvin J. Oliver
(Same as first inventor)
Lubbock, Texas  79415
(806) 749-5560, Ext. 5225 / Fax: (806) 723-5271

 Jeffrey P. Velten
(Same as first inventor)
(806) 749-5560, Ext. 5224 / Fax: (806) 723-5271

 Patrick J. O’Mahony
(Former Post-Doc)


Last Modified: 10/1/2015