Biotech Updates

Human Medicine from Moss

September 24, 2010

The moss Physcomitrella, has been proven to be capable of producing drugs to treat human health problems. A bioreactor of the moss was made to contain the human gene for the production of factor H, the treatment for macular degeneration disease rampant in industrialized countries. Prof. Ralf Reski, from the University of Freiburg developed this safe and inexpensive system as an alternative to expensive medicine.

Dr. Eva Decker, one of the co-researchers of the project explains: "With the complement factor H we have produced a protein in moss that otherwise occurs only in blood and is important for the immune system. Not enough of this protein in older people is the main cause of blindness for 50 million people worldwide." Infection biologists headed by Prof. Peter F. Zipfel from the Hans-Knöll-Institute in Jena, Germany, were able to prove in biological assays that factor H from moss is fully functional.

Original news on this study can be viewed at