A plantibody (a portmanteau derived from plant and antibody) is an antibody produced by genetically engineered crops. Antibodies are part of animal immune systems, and are produced in plants by transforming them with antibody genes from animals. This was first done in 1989, with a mouse antibody made by tobacco plants. Although plants do not naturally make antibodies, plantibodies have been shown to function in the same way as normal antibodies.
The term plantibody as well as the concept is trademarked by the company Biolex.
There are two potential major applications for plantibodies. A number of companies in addition to Biolex, including Planet Biotechnology in California, and Medicago in Canada are pursuing the commercial development of plantibodies as therapies for everything from cancer to the common cold. Secondly, the production of plantibodies might be used to make (genetically modified) crops resistant to plant pathogens.
- Andrew Hiatt, Robert Caffferkey & Katherine Bowdish (1989) Production of antibodies in transgenic plantibodies Nature 342: 76-78
- Geert de Jaeger, Chris de Wilde, Dominique Eeckhout, Esbjörn Fiers & Ann Depicker (2000) The plantibody approach: expression of antibody genes in plants to modulate plant metabolism or to obtain pathogen resistance Plant Molecular Biology, 43(4): 419-428
- Products, Planet Biotechnology
- Why Proficia, Medicago
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