Biotech Updates

DNA Fingerprinting Identifies Bean in Patent Dispute

May 30, 2008

A nine year dispute on the U.S. patent for a common yellow bean filed in 1999 has recently been settled through the use of DNA fingerprinting - an analysis of DNA fragments that identify the unique genetic makeup of an individual plant or animal. University of California Davis Professor Paul Gepts and colleagues from the University of Padova, Italy, showed that through the DNA fingerprinting technology, the yellow Enola bean introduced in the United States in 1990 is identical to a bean variety grown in Mexico.

"The analysis showed that the Enola bean was produced through direct selection of pre-existing yellow bean varieties from Mexico, most likely a bean known as "Azufrado Peruano 87," said Gepts. "In short, the Enola was not a novel variety and therefore not eligible for patent protection." This disclosure was used by the patent office to reject the Enola bean patent in 2003 and 2005 and for a final rejection of all patent claims last month.

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