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Exploring the Patent Landscape of RNAi-based Innovation for Plant Breeding

[ Vol. 13 , Issue. 3 ]


Dario Gianfranco Frisio * and Vera Ventura   Pages 207 - 216 ( 10 )


Background: RNA interference (RNAi) is an innovative technique for plant improvement based on naturally occurring mechanisms which show great potential because of their high specificity and possibility to be applied through innovative methods of topical application in plants. This specific innovation sector is worth analysing from the economic perspective given the great potentiality of RNAi-based plants and products to support modern agriculture in reaching the goals for the improvement of agri-food chains global sustainability. This paper aims to evaluate the global landscape of RNAi innovation by analysing patent data as indicators of innovation output.

Methods: We revised all patents relating to RNAi in plants based on a dataset of roughly seven thousand patent families. The analysis classified inventions according to a set of variables able to characterise the dynamics of innovation (i.e. public/private ownership, type of plants involved, main traits) while the use of concentration indices provided insights into the evolution of this sector.

Results: Results revealed that RNAi is a technique with promising future applications, able to provide solutions to a great variety of agricultural issues and principally developed by the US and Chinese applicants, whereas European innovation capacity in this field appears to be limited.

Conclusion: The innovation landscape of plant breeding is rapidly evolving and RNAi technique is probably going to play a major role in this field.


RNAi, new breeding technologies, innovation, patent, plant, agriculture.


Department of Environmental Science and Policy, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milano, Department of Environmental Science and Policy, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milano

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